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Melatonin supplementation promotes muscle fiber hypertrophy and regulates lipid metabolism of skeletal muscle in weaned piglets

By: Wentao ChenYuang TuPeiran CaiLiyi WangYanbing ZhouShiqi LiuYuqin HuangShu ZhangXin GuWuzhou YiTizhong Shan

Due to its extensive biological functions, melatonin has been widely used in animal production in recent years. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of melatonin on growth performance, muscle development, and lipid metabolism of weaned piglets. Twelve 28-d-old DLY (Duroc × Landrace × Yorkshire) weaned piglets were randomly divided into two groups: control group and melatonin group. The results showed that melatonin supplementation daily had no effect on growth performance, but increased muscle weight, eye muscle area, and decreased the liver weight in weaned piglets. Consistently, the cross-sectional area of myofiber increased, while triglyceride levels decreased in muscle. Melatonin induced the expression of genes related to skeletal muscle hypertrophy and fatty acid oxidation in muscle through transcriptome sequencing. Additionally, melatonin regulated cholesterol metabolism, protein digestion and absorption, and mitophagy signaling pathways in muscle. Gene set enrichment analysis also confirmed the effects of melatonin on skeletal muscle development and mitochondrial function. Moreover, melatonin supplementation elevated the gene expression of cell differentiation and muscle fiber development. Additionally, melatonin inhibited the mRNA expression related to fat synthesis while improved mitochondrial function in muscle. Together, our results suggest melatonin could promote skeletal muscle growth and muscle fiber hypertrophy, enhance mitochondrial function and decrease fat deposition in muscle.

Read the full article in the Journal of Animal Science.