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Endocannabinoids concentrations in plasma associated with feed efficiency and carcass composition of beef steers

V. M. Artegoitia, A. P. Foote, R. M. Lewis, D. A. King, S. D. Shackelford, T. L. Wheeler, H. C. Freetly
Journal of animal science 2016 v.94 no.12 pp. 5177-5181
Angus, beef cattle, blood plasma, blood sampling, body weight changes, cannabinoids, carcass composition, correlation, energy metabolism, fat thickness, feed conversion, finishing, lipids, marbling, receptors, sires, slaughter, steers, weight gain
Endocannabinoids, including anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), are a class of endogenous lipid mediators that activate cannabinoids receptors and may be involved in the control of feed intake and energy metabolism. The objective of this study was to quantify AEA and 2-AG in plasma and identify possible associations with production traits and carcass composition in finishing beef steers. Individual DMI and BW gain were measured on 140 Angus-sired steers for 105 d on a finishing ration. Blood samples were collected on d 84 of the experiment, which was 40 d before slaughter. Variables were analyzed using Pearson CORR procedure of SAS. Mean endocannabinoid concentrations in plasma were 4.48 ± 1.82 ng/mL and 0.44 ± 0.24 ng/mL for AEA and 2-AG, respectively. The AEA concentration was positively correlated with G:F ratio (r = 0.20; P = 0.02), indicating that more efficient animals had greater AEA plasma concentrations. In addition, AEA concentration tended to be negatively correlated with the 12th rib fat thickness (r = -0.17; P = 0.07); but no correlation was found with USDA–calculated yield grade (r = -0.14; P = 0.11), or marbling score (r = 0.05; P = 0.54). The concentration of 2-AG was positively correlated with AEA (r = 0.21; P = 0.01); however, 2-AG concentration was not correlated with parameters of feed efficiency or carcass composition. To our knowledge, this study is the first to report plasma concentration of endocannabinoids in steers. These results provide evidence that plasma concentration of a key endocannabinoid, AEA, was favorably correlated with feed efficiency and fat thickness in finishing steers.