Animal Science Department


Date of this Version



The Author(s) 2018.


Transl. Anim. Sci. 2018.2:S53–S56 doi: 10.1093/tas/txy053


Dietary β-adrenergic agonists (β-AA) are used in livestock to increase muscle protein accretion and decrease adipose deposition during the last 20 to 40 d of the finishing period (Johnson et al., 2014). These β-AA act through specific seven transmembrane receptors and are classified by the receptor isoform to which they primarily bind (Mersmann, 1998). Two β-AA are approved for use in beef cattle in the United States: ractopamine HCl (RAC, β1 agonist) and zilpaterol HCl (ZH, β2 agonist) (Johnson et al., 2014). Supplementation of β-AA increases efficiency of the animal and results in a leaner carcass (Elam et al., 2009). However, the skeletal muscle’s genomic response to these treatments is not well understood. Heat stress (HS) has long been a major concern in the livestock industry. HS occurs when an animal’s body temperature rises above its thermoneutral zone, at which point the heat load exceeds the animal’s capacity for heat dissipation (Bernabucci et al., 2010), resulting in decreased feed intake and poor performance (Marai et al., 2007). Therefore, growth and production decrease during HS, affecting economically important carcass and reproductive traits. As a result, millions of dollars are lost each year due to HS (Renaudeau et al., 2012). Individually, HS and β-AA supplementation have antagonistic effects on muscle growth. However, there is a gap in understanding of the genomic mechanisms through which animals respond to these factors individually and in concert. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of β-AA, HS, and their interaction in skeletal muscle using transcriptomic analyses.