Energy substrate metabolism in skeletal muscle and liver when consuming diets of different energy levels: comparison between Tibetan and Small-tailed Han sheep

X. P. Jing, W. J. Wang, A. A. Degen, Y. M. Guo, J. P. Kang, P. P. Liu, L. M. Ding, Z. H. Shang, J. W. Zhou, R. J. Long

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

The energy intake of Tibetan sheep on the harsh Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau (QTP) varies greatly with seasonal forage fluctuations and is often below maintenance requirements, especially during the long, cold winter. The liver plays a crucial role in gluconeogenesis and skeletal muscle is the primary tissue of energy expenditure in mammals. Both play important roles in energy substrate metabolism and regulating energy metabolism homeostasis of the body. This study aimed to gain insight into how skeletal muscle and liver of Tibetan sheep regulate energy substrate metabolism to cope with low energy intake under the harsh environment of the QTP. Tibetan sheep (n = 24; 48.5 ± 1.89 kg BW) were compared with Small-tailed Han sheep (n = 24; 49.2 ± 2.21 kg BW), which were allocated randomly into one of four groups that differed in dietary digestible energy densities: 8.21, 9.33, 10.45 and 11.57 MJ /kg DM. The sheep were slaughtered after a 49-d feeding period, skeletal muscle and liver tissues were collected and measurements were made of the activities of the key enzymes of energy substrate metabolism and the expressions of genes related to energy homeostasis regulation. Compared with Small-tailed Han sheep, Tibetan sheep exhibited higher capacities of propionate to glucose conversion and fatty acid oxidation and ketogenesis in the liver, higher glucose utilization efficiency in both skeletal muscle and liver, but lower activities of fatty acid oxidation and protein mobilization in skeletal muscle, especially when in negative energy balance. However, the Small-tailed Han sheep exhibited higher capacities to convert amino acids and lactate to glucose and higher levels of glycolysis and lipogenesis in the liver than Tibetan sheep. These differences in gluconeogenesis and energy substrate metabolism conferred the Tibetan sheep an advantage over Small-tailed Han sheep to cope with low energy intake and regulate whole-body energy homeostasis under the harsh environment of the QTP.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100162
JournalAnimal
Volume15
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2021

Keywords

  • Energy homeostasis regulation
  • Fatty acids metabolism
  • Glucose metabolism
  • Hepatic gluconeogenesis
  • Skeletal muscle morphology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology

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