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Asian-Australas J Anim Sci > Accepted Articles
DOI: https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.18.0179    [Accepted] Published online May 28, 2019.
Supplementary prenatal copper increases plasma triiodothyronine and brown adipose tissue uncoupling protein-1 gene expression but depresses thermogenesis in newborn lambs
Stephen B. Smith1,*  , Craig R. Sweatt1, Gordon E. Carstens1
Department of Animal Science, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA
Correspondence:  Stephen B. Smith, Tel: +1-979-845-3939, Fax: +1-979-458-2702, Email: sbsmith@tamu.edu
Received: 3 March 2018   • Revised: 29 June 2018   • Accepted: 7 May 2019
We tested the hypothesis that increasing dietary copper (Cu) to gravid ewes would enhance brown adipose tissue (BAT) thermogenesis in their offspring.
Twin-bearing ewes were assigned on d 70 of gestation to diets containing 3, 10, or 20 ppm dietary Cu (n = 8 per group). Twin lambs were assigned at birth to a cold (6°C) or warm (28°C) environmental chamber for 48 h. Blood was collected from ewes and from lambs and perirenal BAT was collected after 48 h in the environmental chambers.
Prenatal Cu exposure increased ewe plasma triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine concentration (T4) (p < 0.01) but prenatal Cu exposure had no effect on lamb plasma concentrations of T3, T4, glucose, or nonesterified fatty acid concentration (p ≥ 0.08). The high level of prenatal Cu exposure depressed 48-h rectal temperature (p = 0.03). Cold exposure decreased BAT norepinephrine (NE) and increased BAT dopamine (p ≤ 0.01), but prenatal Cu exposure had no effect on BAT cytochrome C oxidase activity or BAT NE or dopamine (p ≥ 0.07). However, BAT of lambs from high-Cu ewes maintained higher uncoupling protein-1 (UCP1) gene expression than BAT of lambs from low- and medium-Cu ewes following warm or cold exposure in environmental chambers (p = 0.02). Cold exposure caused near depletion of BAT lipid by 48 h (p < 0.001), increased BAT cytochrome c oxidase activity (p < 0.01), and depressed plasma fatty acid concentrations (p < 0.001).
Although prenatal Cu exposure increased BAT UCP1 expression during warm and cold exposure, prenatal cold Cu exposure depressed 48-h rectal temperature. Cold exposure decreased BAT lipid content by over 80% and decreased lamb plasma fatty acid concentration by over 40%, indicating that fuel reserves for thermogenesis were nearly depleted by 48 h of cold exposure.
Keywords: Brown Adipose Tissue; Copper; Lambs; Thermogenesis; Uncoupling Protein-1
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