Molecular Biology Reports

, Volume 38, Issue 8, pp 5307–5312 | Cite as

Effect of castration on carcass quality and differential gene expression of longissimus muscle between steer and bull

  • Zheng-Kui Zhou
  • Xue Gao
  • Jun-Ya Li
  • Jin-Bao Chen
  • Shang-Zhong Xu


The effect of castration on carcass quality was investigated by ten Chinese Simmental calves. Five calves were castrated randomly at 2 months old and the others were retained as normal intact bulls. All animals were slaughtered at 22 months old. The results showed that bulls carcass had higher weight (P < 0.05), dressing percentages and bigger longissimus muscle areas (P < 0.05) than steers. But steer meat had lower shear force values and was fatter (P < 0.05) than bull. Furthermore, in order to discover genes that were involved in determining steer meat quality, we compared related candidate gene expression in longissimus muscle between steer (tester) and bull (driver) using suppressive subtractive hybridization. Ten genes were identified as preferentially expressed in longissimus muscle of steer. The expression of four selected differentially expressed genes was confirmed by quantitative real-time PCR. Overall, a 1.96, 2.41, 2.89, 2.41-fold increase in expression level was observed in steer compared with bull for actin, gamma 2, smooth muscle, tropomyosin-2, insulin like growth factor 1 and hormone-sensitive lipase, respectively. These results implied that these differentially expressed genes could play an important role in the regulation of steer meat quality.


Steer Bull Carcass quality Gene differential expression Longissimus muscle 



The authors would like to thank the staffs of Changtu experiment station of Liaoning Province, the staffs of Lvfeng Food Company of Liaoning Province, and the technicians of Liaoning Provincial Breeding Cattle Center. This research was financially supported by the earmarked fund for Modern Agro-industry Technology Research System (No. nycytx-38), the New Variety of Transgenic Organism Great Breeding Program (NO. 2008ZX08007-002 and NO. 2009ZX08009-157B), the Eleventh ‘‘5 Year’’ National Science and Technology Support Project (NO. 2006BAD04A16 and NO. 2007BAD56B04), the National 863 Program of China (NO. 2008AA10Z146), and the Public Welfare Profession Research Program (NO. nyhyzx07-035-07).


  1. 1.
    Jacobs JA, Miller JC, Sauter EA, Howes AD, Araji AA, Gregory TL, Hurst CE (1977) Bulls versus steers. II. Palatability and retail acceptance. J Anim Sci 45:699–702Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Field RA (1971) Effect of castration on meat quality and quantity. J Anim Sci 32:849–858PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Morgan JB, Wheeler TL, Koohmaraie M, Savell JW, Crouse JD (1993) Meat tenderness and the calpain proteolytic system in longissimus muscle of young bulls and steers. J Anim Sci 71:1471–1476PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Worrell MA, Clanton DC, Calkins CR (1987) Effect of weight at castration on steer performance on the feedlot. J Anim Sci 64:343–347Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Ockerman HW, Jaworek D, VanStavern B, Parrett N, Pierson CJ (1984) Castration and sire effects on carcass traits, meat palatability and muscle fiber characteristics in Angus cattle. J Anim Sci 59:981–990Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Gortsema SR, Jacobs JA, Sasser RG, Gregory TL, Bull RC (1974) Effects of endogenous testosterone on production and carcass traits in beef cattle. J Anim Sci 39:680–686Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Micol D, Oury MP, Picard B, Hocquette JF, Briand M, Dumont R, Egal D, Jailler R, Dubroeucq H, Agabriel J (2009) Effect of age at castration on animal performance, muscle characteristics and meat quality traits in 26-month-old Charolais steers. Livest Sci 120:116–126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Brandstetter AM, Pfaffl MW, Hocquette JF, Gerrard DE, Picard B, Geay Y, Sauerwein H (2000) Effects of muscle type, castration, age, and compensatory growth rate on androgen receptor mRNA expression in bovine skeletal muscle. J Anim Sci 78:629–637PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Mateescu RG, Thonney ML (2002) Gene expression in sexually dimorphic muscles in sheep. J Anim Sci 80:1879–1887PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Mateescu RG, Thonney ML (2005) Effect of testosterone on insulin-like growth factor-I, androgen receptor, and myostatin gene expression in splenius and semitendinosus muscles in sheep. J Anim Sci 83:803–809PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Diatchenko L, Lau YF, Campbell AP, Chenchik A, Moqadam F, Huang B, Lukyanov S, Lukyanov K, Gurskaya N, Sverdlov ED, Siebert PD (1996) Suppression subtractive hybridization: a method for generating differentially regulated or tissue-specific cDNA probes and libraries. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 93:6025–6030PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    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 25:402–408PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Purchas RW, Burnham DL, Morris ST (2002) Effects of growth potential and growth path on tenderness of beef longissimus muscle from bulls and steers. J Anim Sci 80:3211–3221PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Papponen H, Kaisto T, Leinonen S, Kaakinen M, Metsikko K (2009) Evidence for gamma-actin as a Z disc component in skeletal myofibers. Exp Cell Res 315:218–225PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Choi YM, Kim BC (2009) Muscle fiber characteristics, myofibrillar protein isoforms, and meat quality. Livest Sci 122:105–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Pittenger MF, Kazzaz JA, Helfman DM (1994) Functional properties of non-muscle tropomyosin isoforms. Curr Opin Cell Biol 6:96–104PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Perry SV (2001) Vertebrate tropomyosin: distribution, properties and function. J Muscle Res Cell Motil 22:5–49PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Zhang Y, Zan L, Wang H (2010) Screening candidate genes related to tenderness trait in Qinchuan cattle by genome array. Mol Biol Rep. doi: 10.1007/s11033-010-0323-8 Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Oea M, Ohnishi-Kameyamab M, Nakajimaa I, Muroyaa S, Chikunia K (2007) Muscle type specific expression of tropomyosin isoforms in bovine skeletal muscles. Meat Sci 75:558–563CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Johnston DJ, Herd R, Reverter A, Oddy VH (2001) Heritability of IGF-I in beef cattle and its association with growth and carcase traits. Proc Assoc Adv Anim Breed Genet 14:163–166Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Zhang R, Li X (2010) Association between IGF-IR, m-calpain and UCP-3 gene polymorphisms and growth traits in Nanyang cattle. Mol Biol Rep. doi: 10.1007/s11033-010-0346-1 Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Moore KL, Johnston DJ, Graser HU, Herd R (2005) Genetic and phenotypic relationships between insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) and net feed intake, fat, and growth traits in Angus beef cattle. Aust J Agric Res 56:211–218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Holm C, Osterlund T, Laurell H, Contreras JA (2000) Molecular mechanisms regulating hormone-sensitive lipase and lipolysis. Annu Rev Nutr 20:365–393PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Langin D, Holm C, Lafontan M (1996) Adipocyte hormone-sensitive lipase: a major regulator of lipid metabolism. Proc Nutr Soc 55:93–109PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Kazala EC, Lozeman FJ, Mir PS, Aalhus JL, Schmutz SM, Weselake RJ (2006) Fatty acid composition of muscle fat and enzymes of storage lipid synthesis in whole muscle from beef cattle. Lipids 41:1049–1057PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Andersson L, Georges M (2004) Domestic-animal genomics: deciphering the genetics of complex traits. Nat Rev Genet 5:202–212PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zheng-Kui Zhou
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xue Gao
    • 1
  • Jun-Ya Li
    • 1
  • Jin-Bao Chen
    • 1
  • Shang-Zhong Xu
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Animal ScienceChinese Academy of Agricultural SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.College of Animal Science and TechnologyNorthwest A&F UniversityYanglingChina

Personalised recommendations