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Relationship of leptin concentrations with feed intake, growth, and efficiency in finishing beef steers

A. P. Foote, K. E. Hales, L. A. Kuehn, D. H. Keisler, D. A. King, S. D. Shackelford, T. L. Wheeler, H. C. Freetly
Journal of animal science 2015 v.93 no.9 pp. 4401-4407
animal growth, beef cattle, blood serum, body size, carcass characteristics, correlation, fat thickness, feed conversion, feed intake, finishing, leptin, marbling, statistical models, steers, variance, yields
The objective of this experiment was to determine the association of serum leptin concentrations with production measures including DMI, ADG, G:F as well as carcass characteristics in genetically diverse finishing beef steers. Three cohorts of steers (n = 473 total) were individually fed a finishing ration for 92, 64, and 84 d for cohort 1, 2, and 3, respectively. Serum was collected on d 42, 22, and 19 of the experiment for cohort 1, 2, and 3, respectively. Leptin concentrations were positively correlated to DMI (r = 0.21; P < 0.01) but negatively correlated to g DMI/kg initial BW (r = -0.21; P < 0.01). Leptin concentrations were also negatively correlated to ADG and G:F (P < 0.01). Leptin concentrations were positively correlated to 12th rib fat thickness, yield grade, and marbling score (P < 0.01) and negatively correlated to LM area (P < 0.01). Using a Mixed model analysis (SAS 9.3; SAS Inc., Cary, NC) to account for breed effects, leptin concentrations were positively associated with DMI (P = 0.01) and accounted for 1.10% of the variance. However, if initial BW and yield grade were included as covariates to account for body size and fatness, leptin was negatively associated with DMI (P = 0.02), and accounted for 0.54% of the variance. Regardless of covariates included in the model, leptin was negatively associated with ADG (P < 0.01) and G:F (P < 0.01), and accounted for 2.62%, and 7.87% of the variance for ADG and G:F, respectively. Leptin concentrations were also positively associated with 12th rib fat thickness, yield grade, and marbling score (P < 0.01), and accounted for 14.74%, 12.74%, and 6.99% of the variance for 12th rib fat, yield grade, and marbling score, respectively. Leptin concentrations could be a useful physiological marker for growth and feed efficiency of finishing beef cattle. Genetic influences on the biology of leptin also need to be considered when using leptin as physiological marker for production measures.