Subcutaneous and intramuscular adipose tissue stearoyl-coenzyme A desaturase gene expression and fatty acid composition in calf- and yearling-fed Angus steers. Academic Article uri icon


  • We proposed that stearoyl-CoA desaturase (SCD) activity dictates fatty acid composition of adipose tissue and muscle in beef cattle, regardless of ruminal or hepatic fatty acid hydrogenation or desaturation. Twelve Angus steers were assigned to a calf-fed (CF) group and slaughtered at weaning (8 mo of age; n=4), 12 mo of age (n=4), or 16 mo of age (n=4). Twelve steers were assigned to a yearling-fed (YF) group and slaughtered at 12 mo of age (n=4), 16 mo of age (n=4), and 17.5 mo of age (n=4; 525 kg, market weight). Data were analyzed based on time on the corn-based finishing diet, with terminal age as a covariate, and orthogonal polynomial contrasts were tested on the main effects of treatment group and time on the finishing diet. Fatty acids from duodenal digesta, plasma, liver, LM, and subcutaneous and intramuscular adipose tissue were measured, and SCD gene expression was measured in intramuscular and subcutaneous adipose tissues. In duodenal digesta, palmitic and linoleic acids increased by 100% over the sampling period, -linolenic acid decreased over the sampling period, and trans-vaccenic acid was greater in YF than in CF steers (all P < 0.01). The proportion of -linolenic acid decreased over time in all tissues, including liver. The SCD index (ratio of SCD fatty acid products to SCD fatty acid substrates) increased over time in LM and in intramuscular and subcutaneous adipose tissues. The SCD:glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase mRNA ratio was virtually undetectable at the initial sampling periods in subcutaneous adipose tissue of YF and CF steers, and it increased over time (P < 0.01). The SCD index and SCD:glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase ratio were greater in intramuscular adipose tissue of CF steers than in that of YF steers. The SCD index did not change over time in liver and decreased over time in duodenal digesta. We conclude that, unlike essential fatty acids, the SFA and MUFA composition of adipose tissue is regulated by adipose tissue fatty acid desaturation, with little contribution from hepatic or duodenal fatty acids.

published proceedings

  • J Anim Sci

author list (cited authors)

  • Brooks, M. A., Choi, C. W., Lunt, D. K., Kawachi, H., & Smith, S. B.

citation count

  • 28

complete list of authors

  • Brooks, MA||Choi, CW||Lunt, DK||Kawachi, H||Smith, SB

publication date

  • August 2011