Molecular Mechanisms Regulating Skeletal Muscle Growth and Differentiation Grant uri icon


  • Mechanisms underlying individual animal productivity at the level of skeletal muscle are poorly understood. Enhancing understanding of these mechanisms will enhance animal well-being, and sustainability of equine and livestock production systems. Cellular respiration in skeletal muscle depends on the use of oxygen for mitochondrial production of energy. The number of functional mitochondria and oxidative phosphorylation capacity are involved in muscle development and health. High-resolution respirometry (HRR) is a new tool to investigate muscle mitochondrial energetics. Muscle biopsy and HRR methods allow the study of permeabilized muscle fiber bundles which retain normal morphology and intracellular mechanisms. This project involves two main focuses: horses and production livestock. In horses, greater oxidative phosphorylation capacity of the mitochondria is linked to fatigue resistance. Therefore, assessment of skeletal muscle mitochondrial capacity as a predictor of probability of injury and overall performance provides the opportunity to obtain mechanistic insight as to whether increasing mitochondrial capacity can improve fatigue resistance, and therefore decrease fatigue-related bone and tendon strain. This will result in a decrease in the occurrence of racing injuries, and enhance precision management of individual horses to optimize health. In livestock, our preliminary data indicate that clear mitochondrial differences can be noted between temperamental and calm cattle in various muscles. Research under this project will determine whether these live-animal mitochondrial measures can be linked to meat quality at slaughter, and the effects of external factors, such as heat stress, on mitochondrial parameters. This will allow for selection of premier individuals, as well as testing interventions to enahnce animal productivity

date/time interval

  • 2019 - 2020