Effect of source and amount of energy and rate of growth in the growing phase on adipocyte cellularity and lipogenic enzyme activity in the intramuscular and subcutaneous fat depots of Holstein steers

J. P. Schoonmaker, F. L. Fluharty, S. C. Loerch

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Seventy-three Holstein steers (initial BW 138.5 ± 4.3 kg; approximately 3 mo of age) were allotted by BW to one of three growing-phase treatments to determine the effect of source and amount of energy on feedlot performance, and characteristics of subcutaneous (s.c.) and intramuscular (i.m.) adipose tissue. Treatment diets were 1) high concentrate fed ad libitum (ALC); 2) high forage fed ad libitum for 55 d, then a mid-level forage diet fed ad libitum for 98 d (ALF); or 3) limit-fed high concentrate to achieve a gain of 0.8 kg/d for 55 d, then to achieve a gain of 1.2 kg/d for 98 d (LFC). All steers were fed the ALC diet from d 154 to slaughter. Eight steers per treatment were selected after an average of 145 and 334 d on feed for determination of adipocyte cellularity and lipogenic enzyme activity at the end of the growing and finishing phases, respectively. Remaining steers were slaughtered after an average of 334 d on feed. At initial slaughter, ALC steers had a two- to threefold greater (P < 0.05) s.c. fat depth, and 1.9-fold greater (P < 0.01) longissimus muscle ether extract than steers in other groups. At final slaughter, LFC steers had a greater fat depth than ALF steers (P < 0.10) and had the greatest (P < 0.10) longissimus muscle ether extract. Increased fat depth for ALC steers at initial slaughter was a result of a greater (P < 0.05) mean adipocyte diameter in the s.c. depot. Mean i.m. adipocyte diameter followed the same trend (P < 0.16). The number of adipocytes per gram of s.c. fat was least for ALC and greatest for ALF (P < 0.10) at initial slaughter. Mean diameter and number of adipocytes per gram of i.m. and s.c. fat did not differ among treatments at final slaughter (after 180 d on a common finishing diet). High energy (ALC) increased activities of ATP-citrate lyase, fatty acid synthase, 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, and malate dehydrogenase (P < 0.05), in the s.c. depot, and increased activities of ATP-citrate lyase and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (P < 0.10) in the i.m. depot at initial slaughter. Lipogenic enzyme activity in the s.c. depot at final slaughter did not differ among treatments. Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase activity in the i.m. depot at final slaughter was lowest (P < 0.10) in ALF. Hypertrophy made a greater contribution to fat tissue growth than hyperplasia. Hypertrophy was affected by amount of energy, whereas hyperplasia was affected by source of energy. Differences diminished when cattle were fed the common finishing diet.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-148
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics

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