Effects of Castration on Androgen Receptor, IGF-I Ea, MGF and Myostatin Gene Expression in Skeletal Muscles of Male Pigs

Yao, Yuchang;Cai, Zhaowei;Zhang, Lifan;Zhao, Chunjiang;Wu, Keliang;Xu, Ningying;Liu, Gang;Wu, Changxin

  • Received : 2008.11.13
  • Accepted : 2009.03.09
  • Published : 2009.08.01


Castration of male pig produces significant negative effects on skeletal muscle development. The androgen receptor (AR), two splice variants of insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I Ea and MGF) and the myostatin gene may play important roles in this process. In the present study, the expression of AR, IGF-I Ea, MGF and myostatin genes in three skeletal muscles, the brachialis, longissimus and semitendinosus, were studied using real-time quantitative RT-PCR. Our experimental design used 14 pairs of male Landrace sire${\times}$Yorkshire dam piglets. The two piglets in each pair were full sibs, one of which was castrated at 21 d of age; the other remained intact. The study group was divided into subgroups of equal size. Animals in the first subgroup were slaughtered at 147 d and those of the second at 210 d of age. Carcass weight and lean meat yield were similar between boars and barrows at 147 d of age (p>0.05), whereas barrows had lower carcass weight and less lean meat yield at 210 d of age (p<0.05). Castration caused down-regulation of AR gene expression at both 147 and 210 d of age (p<0.05). The two splice variants of the IGF-I gene from porcine skeletal muscle were cloned using RT-PCR, and it was found that MGF differs from IGF-I Ea in having a 52-base insert in the last coding exon of the mRNA. Both splice variants were down-regulated by castration only at 210 d of age (p<0.05). No differences in expression of the myostatin gene were observed between boars and barrows at either 147 or 210 d of age (p>0.05). These results suggest that the downregulation of AR, IGF-I Ea and MGF gene expression following castration helps to explain the negative effect of castration on skeletal muscle development.


Pig;Castration;Skeletal Muscle;Molecular Cloning;Gene Expression


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Supported by : China Agricultural University