Intramuscular Administration of Zinc Metallothionein to Preslaughter Stressed Pigs Improves Anti-oxidative Status and Pork Quality Academic Article uri icon


  • This study was conducted to determine the effects of exogenous zinc-metallothionein (Zn-MT) on anti-oxidative function and pork quality. After feeding a corn-soybean meal-based diet for two weeks, 48 pigs (Duroc x Landrace x Chinese Black Pig) were assigned randomly to four groups. Pigs in Group 1 were maintained under non-stress conditions, whereas pigs in Groups 2, 3 and 4 were aggressively handled for 25 min to produce stress. Pigs in Groups 1, 2, 3, and 4 received intramuscular administration of saline (control group; CON), 0 (negative control group; NCON), 0.8 (low dose group; LOW), and 1.6 (high dose group; HIGH) mg rabbit liver Zn-MT per kg body weight, respectively. Pigs were slaughtered at 3 and 6 h post-injection. Zn-MT treatment increased (p<0.05) the activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione-peroxidase (GSH-PX) while decreasing the concentration of malondialdehyde (MDA) in liver. These responses were greater (p<0.05) at 6 h than at 3 h post Zn-MT injection. Zn-MT treatment increased (p<0.05) hepatic SOD mRNA levels in a time and dose-dependent manner and decreased (p<0.05) serum glutamate-pyruvate transaminase and lactate dehydrogenase activities (indicators of tissue integrity). Zn-MT administration decreased (p<0.05) lactate concentration and increased (p<0.05) pH and water-holding capacity in the longissimus thorasis meat. Collectively, our results indicate that intramuscular administration of Zn-MT to pre-slaughter stressed pigs improved tissue anti-oxidative ability and meat quality.

author list (cited authors)

  • Li, L. L., Hou, Z. P., Yin, Y. L., Liu, Y. H., Hou, D. X., Zhang, B., ... Wang, S. X.

citation count

  • 10

publication date

  • March 2007