Expression levels of brown/beige adipocyte-related genes in fat depots of vitamin A-restricted fattening cattle

Hsuan Ju Chen, Tsubasa Ihara, Hidetugu Yoshioka, Erina Itoyama, Shoko Kitamura, Hiroshi Nagase, Hiroaki Murakami, Yoichiro Hoshino, Masaru Murakami, Shozo Tomonaga, Tohru Matsui, Masayuki Funaba

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12 Citations (Scopus)


Brown/beige adipocytes dissipate energy as heat. We previously showed that brown/ beige adipocytes are present in white adipose tissue (WAT) of fattening cattle. The present study examined the effect of vitamin A restriction on mRNA expression of brown/beige adipocyte-related genes. In Japan, fattening cattle are conventionally fed a vitamin A-restricted diet to improve beef marbling. Twelve Japanese Black steers aged 10 mo were fed control feed (n = 6) or vitamin A-restricted feed (n = 6) for 20 mo. Subcutaneous WAT (scWAT) and mesenteric WAT (mesWAT) were collected, and mRNA expression levels of molecules related to the function of brown/ beige adipocytes (Ucp1, Cidea, Dio2, Cox7a, and Cox8b) as well as transcriptional regulators related to brown/beige adipogenesis (Zfp516, Nfia, Prdm16, and Pgc-1α) were evaluated. The vitamin A restriction significantly increased or tended to increase expression levels of Cidea and Pgc-1α in scWAT, and Cidea, Dio2, and Nfia in mesWAT. Previous studies revealed that the bone morphogenetic protein (Bmp) pathway was responsible for commitment of mesenchymal stem cells to brown/beige adipocyte-lineage cells. The vitamin A restriction increased expression of Bmp7 and some Bmp receptors in WAT. The interrelationship between gene expression levels indicated that expression levels of Nfia, Prdm16, and Pgc-1α were closely related to those of genes related to the function of brown/beige adipocytes in scWAT. Also, expression levels of Nfia, Prdm16, and Pgc- 1α were highly correlated with those of Alk3 in scWAT. In summary, the present results suggest that the vitamin A restriction increases the number or activity of brown/beige adipocytes through regulatory expression of transcriptional regulators to induce brown/beige adipogenesis, especially in scWAT of fattening cattle, which may be governed by the Bmp pathway.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3884-3896
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Sept 7


  • Beige adipocytes
  • Brown adipocytes
  • Fattening cattle
  • Vitamin A


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