Effect of rearing system and of dietary protein level on leptin, growth, and carcass composition in young Podolian bulls

Marino, R.; Braghieri, A.; Albenzio, M.; Caroprese, M.; Girolami, A.; Santillo, A.; Sevi, A.

Journal of Animal Science 87(10): 3097-3104


ISSN/ISBN: 1525-3163
PMID: 19542499
DOI: 10.2527/jas.2009-1862
Accession: 052825506

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The present study aimed to evaluate the effects of rearing system and level of dietary protein supplementation on growth performance, metabolic profile, plasma leptin, and carcass composition of young Podolian bulls. At the beginning of the finishing period (about 14 mo of age), animals were divided into 3 groups according to rearing system and dietary protein level: indoor receiving a diet with 15% CP of DM (IND); and outdoor, at pasture, receiving a supplementation with 12% CP of DM (OUT12) or with 15% CP of DM (OUT15). Plasma leptin concentration increased (P < 0.05) with age, whereas it was unaffected by rearing system and protein level. Positive correlations between plasma leptin concentration, ADG (r = 0.861, P < 0.001), and blood glucose concentration (r = 0.977, P < 0.001) were observed, whereas NEFA and triglycerides were not correlated with leptin concentration. At the end of the finishing period (about 20 mo of age), young bulls in the OUT12 group showed greater (P < 0.05) cholesterol concentrations in blood than the OUT15 group, whereas the OUT15 group showed greater urea concentrations compared with IND (P < 0.01) and OUT12 groups (P < 0.001). Average daily gains, feed conversion ratio, and final BW were similar between groups. Intramuscular lipid content of LM, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus muscles was correlated with plasma leptin before slaughtering (r = 0.77, P < 0.01; r = 0.67, P < 0.01, r = 0.79, respectively). Correlations between plasma leptin and intramuscular fat were found starting from 18 mo of age for LM (r = 0.44; P < 0.05) and from 19 mo for semimembranosus (r = 0.56; P < 0.05) and semitendinosus (r = 0.58; P < 0.05). Mean value of intramuscular fat and intramuscular fat of LM was greater in OUT15 than OUT12 (P < 0.05). No differences were found between 12 and 15% CP supplementations for growth and carcass data. Therefore, we conclude that the extensive rearing system supplemented with 12% CP may be adequate to sustain good growth performance and carcass quality from the Podolian breed. These data also provide confirmation that leptin, in cattle, is directly related to nutritional status and may represent a suitable predictor for body fat starting from 1 mo before slaughtering.