Castration-induced changes in the expression profiles and promoter methylation of the GHR gene in Huainan male pigs.
Muscle development in domesticated animals is important for meat production. Furthermore, intramuscular fat content is an important trait of meat intended for consumption. Here, we examined differences in the expression of factors related to myogenesis, adipogenesis and skeletal muscle growth during fetal muscle development of lean (Yorkshire) and obese (Chenghua) pig breeds. At prenatal days 50 (d50) and 90 (d90), muscles and sera were collected from pig fetuses. Histology revealed larger diameters and numbers of myofibers in Chenghua pig fetuses than those in Yorkshire pig fetuses at d50 and d90. Yorkshire fetuses had higher serum concentrations of myostatin (d90), a negative regulator for muscle development, and higher mRNA expression of the growth hormone receptor Ghr (d90), myogenic MyoG (d90) and adipogenic LPL (d50). By contrast, Chenghua fetuses exhibited higher serum concentration of growth hormone (d90), and higher mRNA expression of myogenic MyoD (d90) as well as adipogenic PPARG and FABP4 (d50). Our results revealed distinct expression patterns in the two pig breeds at each developmental stage before birth. Compared with Chenghua pigs, development and maturation of fetal skeletal muscles may occur earlier in Yorkshire pigs, but the negative regulatory effects of myostatin may suppress muscle development at the later stage.