Adiposity of calf- and yearling-fed Brangus steers raised to constant-age and constant-body weight endpoints.
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We tested the hypothesis that fatty acid biosynthesis and adipocyte diameter and volume would be greater in s.c. and i.m. adipose tissues of calf-fed steers than in yearling-fed steers at a constant BW, due to the greater time on feed for the calf-fed steers. Conversely, we predicted that the capacity for s.c. and i.m. preadipocytes to divide, as estimated by 3H-thymidine incorporation into DNA, would be greater in the less mature adipose tissues of calf-fed steers and in yearling-fed steers at 16 mo of age than in yearling-fed steers fed to 18 mo of age. Brangus steers were fed a corn-based finishing diet as calves (calf-fed; n = 9) or yearlings (n = 4) to 16 mo of age (CA yearling-fed); another group of yearlings (n = 5) was fed to a constant-BW end point of 530 kg (CW yearling-fed). Both groups of yearling-fed steers had free access to native pasture until 12 mo of age. At slaughter, the fifth to eighth thoracic rib section of the LM was removed, and fresh s.c. and i.m. adipose tissues were removed for in vitro incubations. There were no differences in the number of s.c. adipocytes/g or mean peak volumes of adipocytes across production groups (P > or = 0.14). However, s.c. adipose tissue of CA yearling-fed steers contained greater proportions of smaller adipocytes (<1,500 pL) than calffed or CW yearling-fed steers, and similar results were observed for i.m. adipose tissue. Acetate incorporation into total lipids was greater (P = 0.02) in s.c. adipose tissue of CA yearling-fed steers than in calf-fed or CW yearling-fed steers, and tended to be different (P = 0.10) across production groups in i.m. adipose tissue. The production system x cell fraction interaction was significant (P = 0.03) for s.c. adipose tissue DNA synthesis, which was greatest in adipocytes from CA yearling-fed steers, whereas there were no differences across production system in stromal vascular (SV) DNA synthesis. For i.m. adipose tissue, DNA synthesis was greatest in adipocytes and SV cells from CA yearling-fed calves, and was greater in SV cells than in adipocytes (both P = 0.01). Therefore, stage of adipose tissue development more strongly influenced fatty acid synthesis, adipocyte volume, and DNA synthesis than age at sampling, final BW, or time on the finishing diet.