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Identification of amino acids associated with skeletal muscle growth in late gestation and at weaning in lambs of well-nourished sheep

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-03, 17:50 authored by Franscesco Sales, David PachecoDavid Pacheco, Hugh Blair, P. Kenyon, G. Nicholas, Monica Senna Salerno, Sue McCoardSue McCoard
The objective of this study was to determine the association between intracellular free AA (FAA) profiles in skeletal muscle with muscle growth in twin and singleton fetuses in late pregnancy and at weaning, under an ad libitum feeding regime of the dam. Plasma from singleton- (n = 9) and twin-bearing (n = 10) ewes at d 140 of pregnancy and FAA in the semitendinosus muscle (STM) from the corresponding fetuses were studied. At weaning, intracellular STM FAA concentrations were compared between twins at the same age as singletons (Twin(age); n = 17) and at the same weight as singletons (Twin(wt); n = 17) to that of singletons (n = 20). Twin fetuses were 15% lighter (P = 0.03) with a 20% lighter STM (P = 0.02) compared to singletons. Maternal plasma FAA were similar (P ≥ 0.17) between singleton- and twin-bearing ewes. Twin fetuses had greater (P < 0.05) plasma concentrations of glutamine, histidine, and methionine and lower (P < 0.05) concentrations of aspartate, citrulline, glutamate, and ornithine compared with singletons. In fetal STM, twins had lower (P < 0.05) concentrations of aspartate and valine and greater (P < 0.01) concentration of methionine. Correlations were found between fetal STM weight and intracellular concentrations of arginine (r = 0.66, P < 0.01) and glutamine (r = 0.49, P < 0.01). Compared to singletons at weaning, Twin(age) were 16% lighter (P < 0.01) and the STM weight was proportionately 16% lighter (P < 0.01). For Twin(wt), the magnitude of the difference for STM weight was reduced to 8% lighter (P = 0.02). Compared to singletons, Twin(age) lambs had greater (P < 0.05) intracellular concentrations of glutamine, histidine, threonine, asparagine, alanine, serine, and glutamate but reduced taurine. The differences in FAA concentrations were less between Twin(wt) and singletons than between Twin(age) and singletons. Positive correlations were found between leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, proline, threonine, and tyrosine muscle concentration and STM weight at weaning. Males differed from females in intracellular FAA both in late pregnancy and at weaning. Twins had reduced RNA content during pregnancy and at weaning, suggesting a lower capacity for protein accretion. These data suggest that specific FAA concentrations are associated with differences in muscle growth during late pregnancy, notably arginine and glutamine, and reduced protein synthesis capacity. However, the relevance of specific FAA varies according to stage of development and sex of the lamb.


Rights statement

Copyright © 2014 American Society of Animal Science


  • English

Does this contain Māori information or data?

  • No


Oxford University Press

Journal title

Journal of Animal Science




Sales, F. A., Pacheco, D., Blair, H. T., Kenyon, P. R., Nicholas, G., Senna Salerno, M., & McCoard, S. A. (2014). Identification of amino acids associated with skeletal muscle growth in late gestation and at weaning in lambs of well-nourished sheep. Journal of Animal Science, 92(11), 5041–5052. doi:10.2527/jas.2014-7689

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