Genome-wide expression profiling in muscle and subcutaneous fat of lambs in response to the intake of concentrate supplemented with vitamin E
Background: The objective of this study was to acquire a broader, more comprehensive picture of the transcriptional changes in the L. Thoracis muscle (LT) and subcutaneous fat (SF) of lambs supplemented with vitamin E. Furthermore, we aimed to identify novel genes involved in the metabolism of vitamin E that might also be involved in meat quality. In the first treatment, seven lambs were fed a basal concentrate from weaning to slaughter (CON). In the second treatment, seven lambs received basal concentrate from weaning to 4.71 ± 2. 62 days and thereafter concentrate supplemented with 500 mg dl-α-tocopheryl acetate/kg (VE) during the last 33.28 ± 1.07 days before slaughter.
Results: The addition of vitamin E to the diet increased the α-tocopherol muscle content and drastically diminished the lipid oxidation of meat. Gene expression profiles for treatments VE and CON were clearly separated from each other in the LT and SF. Vitamin E supplementation had a dramatic effect on subcutaneous fat gene expression, showing general up-regulation of significant genes, compared to CON treatment. In LT, vitamin E supplementation caused down-regulation of genes related to intracellular signaling cascade. Functional analysis of SF showed that vitamin E supplementation caused up-regulation of the lipid biosynthesis process, cholesterol, and sterol and steroid biosynthesis, and it down-regulated genes related to the stress response.
Conclusions: Different gene expression patterns were found between the SF and LT, suggesting tissue specific responses to vitamin E supplementation. Our study enabled us to identify novel genes and metabolic pathways related to vitamin E metabolism that might be implicated in meat quality. Further exploration of these genes and vitamin E could lead to a better understanding of how vitamin E affects the oxidative process that occurs in manufactured meat products.