a1 AFRC Institute of Animal Physiology and Genetics Research, Edinburgh Research Station†, Roslin, Midlothian EH25 9PS
Adipocyte volume rates of fatty acid synthesis, acylglycerol glycerol synthesis and lipolysis (basal and noradrenaline stimulated) along with the activities of acetyl CoA carboxylase and lipoprotein lipase were determined in subcutaneous adipose tissue, sampled by biopsy, from the rump of four breeds of sheep differing in growth and body characteristics.
Significant differences among breeds were observed for adipocyte volume, fatty acid synthesis, stimulated lipolysis rates, initial and total acetyl CoA carboxylase activity and lipoprotein lipase activity, but not for acylglycerol glycerol synthesis.
Differences in adipocyte volume did not appear to be related to the previously reported carcass fatnesses of the breeds. Similarly differences in adipocyte volume were not related to differences in either de novo fatty acid synthesis or lipolysis rates. Across breeds there was a trend toward higher acylglycerol glycerol synthesis rates associated with greater adipocyte volume although the source of fatty acids for esterification varied greatly.
Breed variation in fatness in sheep therefore appears to be a consequence of different balances of anabolic and catabolic processes in adipose tissue, with a unique pattern for each breed. Further elucidation of these patterns may lead to the identification of key sites for genetic manipulation. In addition these breed differences provide an alternative, complementary and qualitatively different, model for the study of the control of fat metabolism to that provided by nutritional or hormonal manipulations.
(Received June 17 1987)
(Accepted March 24 1988)
p1 Formerly Animal Breeding Research Organisation