Scientific reports

Elucidating a molecular mechanism that the deterioration of porcine meat quality responds to increased cortisol based on transcriptome sequencing.

PMID 27833113


Stress response is tightly linked to meat quality. The current understanding of the intrinsic mechanism of meat deterioration under stress is limited. Here, male piglets were randomly assigned to cortisol and control groups. Our results showed that when serum cortisol level was significantly increased, the meat color at 1 h postmortem, muscle bundle ratio, apoptosis rate, and gene expression levels of calcium channel and cell apoptosis including SERCA1, IP3R1, BAX, Bcl-2, and Caspase-3, were notably increased. However, the value of drip loss at 24 h postmortem and serum CK were significantly decreased. Additionally, a large number of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in GC regulation mechanism were screened out using transcriptome sequencing technology. A total of 223 DEGs were found, including 80 up-regulated genes and 143 down-regulated genes. A total of 204 genes were enriched in GO terms, and 140 genes annotated into in KEGG database. Numerous genes were primarily involved in defense, inflammatory and wound responses. This study not only identifies important genes and signalling pathways that may affect the meat quality but also offers a reference for breeding and feeding management to provide consumers with better quality pork products.