Skip to main content
Log in

Developmental changes and effect on intramuscular fat content of H-FABP and A-FABP mRNA expression in pigs

  • Animal Genetics • Short Communication
  • Published:
Journal of Applied Genetics Aims and scope Submit manuscript


H-FABP and A-FABP genes are considered as candidates for intramuscular fat (IMF) accretion. The aim of the present study was to assess the expression of H-FABP and A-FABP genes in m. longissimus dorsi (LD) and liver tissues of Laiwu and Lulai Black pig populations of different body weight (BW). Eighty-four barrows at different BW (30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90 and 100 kg, n = 6 per group) of Laiwu Black pig (no 100 kg group) and Lulai Black pig (no 30 kg group) were used to study the development changes of A-FABP and H-FABP mRNA expression and their relationships to IMF content. The results showed that, in both breeds, the IMF content increased continuously with growing (P < 0.05). The expression of H-FABP and A-FABP genes also increased with growing in LD tissue (P < 0.05), and reached a peak at 50 and 70 kg BW in Laiwu and Lulai Black pig, respectively. However, this regularity was not observed in liver tissue in both breeds. A positive correlation was just found between the A-FABP mRNA expression level in LD tissue and IMF content and BW in both breeds (P < 0.05). In conclusion, the A-FABP gene is strongly related to the development and function of IMF accretion in pigs.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3


  • Becker MM, Kalinna BH, Waine GJ, McManus DP (1994) Gene cloning, overproduction and purification of a functionally active cytoplasmic fatty acid-binding protein (Sj-FABPC) from the human blood fluke Schistosoma japonicum. Gene 148:321–325

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Bosch L, Tor M, Reixach J, Estany J (2012) Age-related changes in intramuscular and subcutaneous fat content and fatty acid composition in growing pigs using longitudinal data. Meat Sci 91:358–363

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Cannata S, Engle TE, Moeller SJ, Zerby HN, Radunz AE, Green MD, Bass PD, Belk KE (2010) Effect of visual marbling on sensory properties and quality traits of pork loin. Meat Sci 85:428–434

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Chmurzyńska A (2006) The multigene family of fatty acid-binding proteins (FABPs): function, structure and polymorphism. J Appl Genet 47:39–48

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Cho KH, Kim MJ, Jeon GJ, Chung HY (2011) Association of genetic variants for FABP3 gene with back fat thickness and intramuscular fat content in pig. Mol Biol Rep 38:2161–2166

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Cui JX, Zeng YQ, Wang H, Chen W, Du JF, Chen QM, Hu YX, Yang L (2011) The effects of DGAT1 and DGAT2 mRNA expression on fat deposition in fatty and lean breeds of pig. Livest Sci 140:292–296

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Damon M, Louveau I, Lefaucheur L, Lebret B, Vincent A, Leroy P, Sanchez MP, Herpin P, Gondret F (2006) Number of intramuscular adipocytes and fatty acid binding protein-4 content are significant indicators of intramuscular fat level in crossbred Large White × Duroc pigs. J Anim Sci 84:1083–1092

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Flores M, Armero E, Aristoy M-C, Toldrá F (1999) Sensory characteristics of cooked pork loin as affected by nucleotide content and post-mortem meat quality. Meat Sci 51:53–59

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Fontanesi L, Scotti E, Buttazzoni L, Dall’Olio S, Davoli R, Russo V (2010) A single nucleotide polymorphism in the porcine cathepsin K (CTSK) gene is associated with back fat thickness and production traits in Italian Duroc pigs. Mol Biol Rep 37:491–495

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Gardan D, Louveau I, Gondret F (2007) Adipocyte- and heart-type fatty acid binding proteins are both expressed in subcutaneous and intramuscular porcine (Sus scrofa) adipocytes. Comp Biochem Physiol B 148:14–19

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Gerbens F, Jansen A, van Erp AJM, Harders F, Meuwissen THE, Rettenberger G, Veerkamp JH, te Pas MFW (1998) The adipocyte fatty acid-binding protein locus: characterization and association with intramuscular fat content in pigs. Mamm Genome 9:1022–1026

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Gerbens F, van Erp AJM, Harders FL, Verburg FJ, Meuwissen THE, Veerkamp JH, te Pas MFW (1999) Effect of genetic variants of the heart fatty acid-binding protein gene on intramuscular fat and performance traits in pigs. J Anim Sci 77:846–852

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Gerbens F, de Koning DJ, Harders FL, Meuwissen THE, Janss LLG, Groenen MAM, Veerkamp JH, Van Arendonk JAM, te Pas MFW (2000) The effect of adipocyte and heart fatty acid-binding protein genes on intramuscular fat and backfat content in Meishan crossbred pigs. J Anim Sci 78:552–559

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Gerbens F, Verburg FJ, Van Moerkerk HT, Engel B, Buist W, Veerkamp JH, te Pas MF (2001) Associations of heart and adipocyte fatty acid-binding protein gene expression with intramuscular fat content in pigs. J Anim Sci 79:347–354

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Glatz JFC, Schaap FG, Binas B, Bonen A, van der Vusse GJ, Luiken JJFP (2003) Cytoplasmic fatty acid-binding protein facilitates fatty acid utilization by skeletal muscle. Acta Physiol Scand 178:367–371

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Heuckeroth RO, Birkenmeier EH, Levin MS, Gordon JI (1987) Analysis of the tissue-specific expression, developmental regulation, and linkage relationships of a rodent gene encoding heart fatty acid binding protein. J Biol Chem 262:9709–9717

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Hocquette JF, Gondret F, Baéza E, Médale F, Jurie C, Pethick DW (2010) Intramuscular fat content in meat-producing animals: development, genetic and nutritional control, and identification of putative markers. Animal 4:303–319

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Hovenier R, Kanis E, Van Asseldonk T, Westerink NG (1992) Genetic parameters of pig meat quality traits in a halothane negative population. Livest Prod Sci 32:309–321

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hovenier R, Kanis E, Verhoeven JAM (1993) Repeatability of taste panel tenderness scores and their relationships to objective pig meat quality traits. J Anim Sci 71:2018–2025

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Jurie C, Cassar-Malek I, Bonnet M, Leroux C, Bauchart D, Boulesteix P, Pethick DW, Hocquette JF (2007) Adipocyte fatty acid-binding protein and mitochondrial enzyme activities in muscles as relevant indicators of marbling in cattle. J Anim Sci 85:2660–2669

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Li B, Zerby HN, Lee K (2007) Heart fatty acid binding protein is upregulated during porcine adipocyte development. J Anim Sci 85:1651–1659

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Livak KJ, Schmittgen TD (2001) Analysis of relative gene expression data using real-time quantitative PCR and the 2(−Delta Delta C(T)) method. Methods 25:402–408

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Meuwissen THE, Goddard ME (1996) The use of marker haplotypes in animal breeding schemes. Genet Sel Evol 28:161–176

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • National Research Council (1998) Nutrient requirements of swine, 10th revised edition. Effect of environment on nutrient requirements of domestic animals. National Academies Press, Washington

  • O’Hea EK, Leveille GA (1969) Significance of adipose tissue and liver as sites of fatty acid synthesis in the pig and the efficiency of utilization of various substrates for lipogenesis. J Nutr 99:338–344

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Pang WJ, Yu TY, Bai L, Yang YJ, Yang GS (2009) Tissue expression of porcine FoxO1 and its negative regulation during primary preadipocyte differentiation. Mol Biol Rep 36:165–176

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Tyra M, Ropka-Molik K, Eckert R, Piórkowska K, Oczkowicz M (2011) H-FABP and LEPR gene expression profile in skeletal muscles and liver during ontogenesis in various breeds of pigs. Domest Anim Endocrinol 40:147–154

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Wood JD, Enser M, Fisher AV, Nute GR, Richardson RI, Sheard PR (1999) Manipulating meat quality and composition. Proc Nutr Soc 58:363–370

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Xing J, Kang L, Jiang Y (2011) Effect of dietary betaine supplementation on lipogenesis gene expression and CpG methylation of lipoprotein lipase gene in broilers. Mol Biol Rep 38:1975–1981

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Zeng YQ, Wang GL, Wang CF, Wei SD, Wu Y, Wang LY, Wang H, Yang HL (2005) Genetic variation of H-FABP gene and association with intramuscular fat content in Laiwu Black and four western pig breeds. Asian-Aust J Anim Sci 18:13–16

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Zhao S, Wang J, Song X, Zhang X, Ge C, Gao S (2010) Impact of dietary protein on lipid metabolism-related gene expression in porcine adipose tissue. Nutr Metab (Lond) 7:6–18

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


This work was supported by the National Project for Breeding Transgenic Pigs of China (no. 2011ZX08006-002), the National High-Tech Research and Development Program of China (863 Program) (no. 2008AA101008), Shandong Province Agricultural Animal Breeding Project of China (no. 2009LZ012-03) and the Natural Science Foundation of Shandong Province of China (no. Y2008D32).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Hui Wang or Yong-Qing Zeng.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Chen, QM., Wang, H., Zeng, YQ. et al. Developmental changes and effect on intramuscular fat content of H-FABP and A-FABP mRNA expression in pigs. J Appl Genetics 54, 119–123 (2013).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: