September 18, 2019

Interpretive Summary: Butyrate promotes slow-twitch myofiber formation and mitochondrial biogenesis in pigs

Interpretive Summary: Butyrate promotes slow-twitch myofiber formation and mitochondrial biogenesis in finishing pigs

By Anne Zinn

A study recently published in the August 2019 edition of the Journal of Animal Science investigated the influence of dietary butyrate supplementation on muscle fiber-type composition and mitochondrial biogenesis of finishing pigs.

In animal production, muscle fiber-type composition can be a major determining factor for meat quality assessment, and past studies have shown that muscle fiber characteristics are responsible for meat color, tenderness, fat content, and other meat quality characteristics. Additionally, it is believed that muscles with a greater proportion of slow-twitch or oxidative fibers (MyHC-I and MyHC-IIa), which have greater oxidative capacity, lead to better meat quality than those with fast-twitch or glycolysis fibers. The current study continues to explore the possibility of regulating muscle fiber-type composition through nutritional manipulation using butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid produced in large amounts from anaerobic bacteria fermentation of dietary fibers in the large intestine.

While others have investigated the effects of dietary butyrates on metabolism, much of this work was done in other species, and there are few reported results regarding the effects of butyrate in pigs and its effect on meat quality. The current research hypothesized that butyrate could improve pork quality and aimed to evaluate the effects of butyrate on skeletal muscle fiber-type and mitochondrial biogenesis in finishing pigs and investigate the potential mechanism for the effects of butyrate.

Collectively, results suggested that dietary butyrate supplementation promoted the formation of slow-twitch myofibers and mitochondrial biogenesis in skeletal muscle, and the molecular mechanism may be due to upgrading specific microRNAs and PGC-1α expression, which ultimately contributed to improved meat quality.

To view the full paper, visit the Journal of Animal Science