a1 INRA, UR 1213, Unité de Recherches sur les Herbivores (URH), Theix, F-63122 Saint-Genès Champanelle, France
Muscle metabolism (in interaction with other organs and tissues, including adipose tissue) plays an important role in the control of growth and body composition. Muscle ontogenesis has been described in different genotypes of cattle for myofibres, connective tissue and intramuscular depots. The ontogenesis or the action of putatively important factors controlling muscle development (IGF-II expression, IGF receptors, growth hormone (GH) receptor, myostatin, basic fibroblast growth factor, transforming growth factor-β1, insulin and thyroid hormones) has also been studied on bovine foetal muscle samples and satellite cells. The glucose/insulin axis has been specifically studied in both the bovine adipose tissue and heart. Clearly, cattle, like sheep, are mature species at birth based on their muscle characteristics compared to other mammalian or farm animal species. The different myoblast generations have been well characterised in cattle, including the second generation which is liable to be affected by foetal undernutrition at least in sheep. Interesting genotypes, for example, double-muscled genotype, have been characterised by an altered metabolic and endocrine status associated with a reduced fat mass, specific muscle traits and different foetal characteristics. Finally, the recent development of genomics in cattle has allowed the identification of novel genes controlling muscle development during foetal and postnatal life. Generally, a high muscle growth potential is associated with a reduced fat mass and a switch of muscle fibres towards the glycolytic type. The possibility and the practical consequences of manipulating muscle growth and, hence, body composition by nutritional and hormonal factors are discussed for bovines based on our current biological knowledge.
(Received March 03 2010)
(Accepted May 17 2010)
(Online publication July 01 2010)
* Lecture presented at the ‘EAAP-ASAS-ADSA Growth and Development Symposium’ during the 60th Annual Meeting of the European Association for Animal production, Barcelona 2009, Session 10.