May 18, 2020

Interpretive Summary: Association of leptin genotype with growth performance in beef steers

Interpretive Summary: Association of leptin genotype with growth performance, adipocyte cellularity, meat quality, and fatty acid profile in beef steers fed flaxseed or high-oleate sunflower seed diets with or without triticale dried distiller’s grains

By: Anne Wallace

Leptin is a hormone that has profound impacts on metabolism, energy balance, appetite and weight regulation. Variations in the leptin gene impact feed intake and the storage of fat, altering carcass characteristics and growth performance. However, the effects of leptin gene variants on fat cells and fatty acid (FA) profiles are not as well studied in cattle.

The goal of this Journal of Animal Science study (April 2020) was to evaluate how single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) variants of the leptin gene (LEP 25C) might impact growth performance and carcass characteristics in cattle fed two types of FAs.

Cattle with three gene variants: LEP 25C homozygous normal (CC), homozygous mutant (TT), and heterozygous normal/mutant (CT) were studied. They were fed a barley-based diet with or without dried distillers grains (DDG), each diet supplemented with either α-linolenic acid (ALA) from flax seed, or linoleic acid (LA) from sunflower seed, for a sum of four different diets. Omega-3 FA are necessary for healthy growth and development and may reduce inflammation, thus are important nutrients to study.

Researchers hypothesized there would be increased subcutaneous fat and adipocyte cellularity in TT cattle compared to CT cattle, and supplementation with FA would impact growth performance, meat quality and FA profiles. Although this study’s results found a tendency in TT cattle to support the researchers’ hypothesis, there was no significant differences in the subcutaneous fat accumulation, adipocyte cellularity, growth performance, meat quality or FA profiles in cattle fed any of the four diets. Overall, more expanded studies would need to be done to further explore or validate the findings of this study.