Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Clay Center, Nebraska » U.S. Meat Animal Research Center » Nutrition and Environmental Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #333244

Research Project: Improved Nutrient Efficiency of Beef Cattle and Swine

Location: Nutrition and Environmental Management Research

Title: Endocannabinoids concentrations in plasma associated with feed efficiency and carcass composition of beef steers

Author
item Artegoitia, Virginia - University Of Nebraska
item Foote, Andrew
item Lewis, Ron - University Of Nebraska
item King, David - Andy
item Shackelford, Steven
item Wheeler, Tommy
item Freetly, Harvey

Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/28/2016
Publication Date: 12/29/2016
Publication URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/5695386
Citation: Artegoitia, V.M., Foote, A.P., Lewis, R.M., King, D.A., Shackelford, S.D., Wheeler, T.L., Freetly, H.C. 2016. Endocannabinoids concentrations in plasma associated with feed efficiency and carcass composition of beef steers. Journal of Animal Science. 94(12):5177-5181. doi:10.2527/jas2016-1025.

Interpretive Summary: Endocannabinoids, including anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), are a class of lipid that activate cannabinoids receptors and may be involved in the control of feed intake and energy metabolism. Indeed, blood concentrations of AEA and 2-AG in nonruminants have been considered as indicators of obesity and metabolic disorders. Thus, understanding the feed intake and gain by circulating AEA and 2-AG in cattle might offer potential opportunities for novel approach to improve cattle feed efficiency and carcass composition. The objective of this study was to quantify AEA and 2-AG in blood and identify possible associations with production traits and carcass composition in finishing beef steers. Individual intake and gain were measured on 140 Angus-sired steers for 105 d on a finishing ration. Blood samples were collected on d 84 of the experiment, which was 40 d before slaughter. Blood concentration of AEA was positively associated with gain:feed ratio, indicating that more efficient animals had greater AEA plasma concentrations. In addition, greater AEA concentration was associated with less the 12th rib fat thickness; but no association was found with USDA–calculated yield grade or marbling score. The concentration of 2-AG was positively associated with AEA; however, 2-AG concentration was not associated with parameters of feed efficiency or carcass composition. To our knowledge, this study is the first to report blood concentration of endocannabinoids in steers. These results provide evidence that plasma concentration of a key endocannabinoid, AEA, might be a useful indicator of feed efficiency and fat thickness in finishing steers.

Technical Abstract: Endocannabinoids, including anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), are a class of endogenous lipid mediators that activate cannabinoids receptors and may be involved in the control of feed intake and energy metabolism. The objective of this study was to quantify AEA and 2-AG in plasma and identify possible associations with production traits and carcass composition in finishing beef steers. Individual DMI and BW gain were measured on 140 Angus-sired steers for 105 d on a finishing ration. Blood samples were collected on d 84 of the experiment, which was 40 d before slaughter. Variables were analyzed using Pearson CORR procedure of SAS. Mean endocannabinoid concentrations in plasma were 4.48 ± 1.82 ng/mL and 0.44 ± 0.24 ng/mL for AEA and 2-AG, respectively. The AEA concentration was positively correlated with G:F ratio (r = 0.20; P = 0.02), indicating that more efficient animals had greater AEA plasma concentrations. In addition, AEA concentration tended to be negatively correlated with the 12th rib fat thickness (r = -0.17; P = 0.07); but no correlation was found with USDA–calculated yield grade (r = -0.14; P = 0.11), or marbling score (r = 0.05; P = 0.54). The concentration of 2-AG was positively correlated with AEA (r = 0.21; P = 0.01); however, 2-AG concentration was not correlated with parameters of feed efficiency or carcass composition. To our knowledge, this study is the first to report plasma concentration of endocannabinoids in steers. These results provide evidence that plasma concentration of a key endocannabinoid, AEA, was favorably correlated with feed efficiency and fat thickness in finishing steers.