Association study of molecular polymorphisms in candidate genes related to stress responses with production and meat quality traits in pigs

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  • E. Terenina, Laboratory for Cellular Genetics
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  • B.M. Babigumira, Laboratory for PsychoNeuroImmunology, Nutrition and Genetics
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  • G. Le Mignon, Animal Genetics and Integrative Biology
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  • D. Bazovkina, Laboratory of Behavioral Neurogenomics
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  • S. Rousseau, Laboratory for Cellular Genetics
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  • F. Salin, UMR BIOGECO
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  • C. Bendixen
  • P. Mormede, Laboratory for Cellular Genetics
The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis exerts a large range of effects on metabolism, the immune system, inflammatory processes, and brain functions. Together with the sympathetic nervous system, it is also the most important stress-responsive neuroendocrine system. Both systems influence production traits, carcass composition, and meat quality. The HPA axis may be a critical target for genetic selection of more robust animals. Indeed, numerous studies in various species have demonstrated the importance of genetic factors in shaping the individual HPA axis phenotype, and genetic polymorphism can be found at each level of the axis, including hormone production by the adrenal cortices under stimulation by adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), hormone bioavailability, or receptor and postreceptor mechanisms. The aim of the present experiment was to extend these findings to the brain neurochemical systems involved in stress responses. To this end, a number of candidate genes were sequenced for molecular polymorphisms and their association was studied with stress neuroendocrine and production traits in a genetically diverse population consisting of 100 female pigs from an advanced intercross (F10-F12) between 2 highly divergent breeds, Large White (LW) and Meishan (MS). The LW breed has a high production potential for lean meat and a low HPA axis activity, and the MS breed has low growth rate, fat carcasses-but large litters of highly viable piglets-and a high HPA axis activity. Candidate genes were chosen in the catecholaminergic and serotonergic pathways, in the pituitary control of cortisol production, among genes previously demonstrated to be differentially expressed in ACTH-stimulated adrenal glands from LW and MS pigs, and in cortisol receptors. Sixty new polymorphisms were found. The association study with carcass and meat quality traits and with endocrine traits showed a number of significant results, such as monoamine oxidase (MAOA) polymorphisms with growth rate (P = 0.01); lean content and intramuscular fat (P <0.01), which are the most important traits for carcass value; dopamine receptor D3 (DRD3) with carcass composition ( P <0.05); and vasopressin receptor 1B (AVPR1B) with meat quality traits ( P ≤ 0.05). The effect of these polymorphisms on neuroendocrine parameters (eg DRD3 and HPA axis or AVPR1B and catecholamines) indicates information regarding their biological mechanism of action.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDomestic Animal Endocrinology
Pages (from-to)81-97
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2013

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