Glutathione content and expression of proteins involved with glutathione metabolism differs in longissimus dorsi, subcutaneous adipose, and liver tissues of finished vs. growing beef steers

Jing Huang, Yang Jia, Qing Li, Kwangwon Son, Charles Hamilton, Walter R. Burris, Phillip J. Bridges, Arnold J. Stromberg, James C. Matthews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Increased tissue redox state may result in sub-optimal growth. Our goal was to determine if glutathione (GSH) content and expression of proteins involved with GSH metabolism change in longissimus dorsi (LD), subcutaneous adipose (SA), and liver tissues of growing vs. finishing steer phenotypes. Tissues were taken from 16 Angus steers (BW = 209 ± 29.4 kg) randomly assigned (n = 8) to develop through Growing (final BW = 301 ± 7.06 kg) vs. Finished (final BW = 576 ± 36.9 kg) growth phases, and at slaughter had achieved different rib-eye area (REA) (53.2, 76.8 cm 2 ), marbling scores (296, 668), and 12th rib adipose thickness (0.54, 1.73 cm), respectively (Amino Acids, doi:10.1007/ s00726-018-2540-8). GSH content (mg/g wet tissue) was determined by a commercial assay and the relative content of target protein and mRNA in tissue homogenates was determined by Western blot and reverse-transcribed PCR analyses, respectively. The effect of growth phase (Finished vs. Growing) was assessed by ANOVA using the GLM procedure of SAS. The LD of Finished steers had more (P < 0.04) GSH (42%) and GSH synthesizing (GCLC, 61%; GCLM, 21%) and metabolizing (GPX1, 42%; GPX3, 73%; GGT1, 56%) enzymes, and less (P < 0.02) GPX2 (46%), EAAC1 (30%) and glutamine synthetase (GS) (28%), whereas GTRAP3-18 and ARL6IP1 did not differ (P > 0.57). Principal component analysis found that GSH content of LD was associated with REA and marbling score. The SA of Finished steers had less (P < 0.04) GSH (38%), GSH metabolizing (GPX4, 52%; GGT1, 71%) enzyme mRNA, and GTRAP3-18 (123%) and ARL6IP1 (43%), whereas the mRNA content of GSH-synthesizing enzymes and content of EAAC1 and GS did not differ (P > 0.32). The liver of Finished steers had less (P < 0.02) mRNA content of GSH synthesizing (GCLC, 39%; GSS 29%) and metabolizing (GPX1, 30%) enzymes, and more (P < 0.01) GSTM1 metabolizing enzyme (114%). The change in GSH content as steers fattened indicate an increased antioxidant capacity in the LD of Finished steers, and a decreased antioxidant capacity in SA, consistent with changes in enzyme and transporter expression. Changes in liver enzyme and transporter expression were consistent with no change in GSH content. The relationship of EAAC1 regulatory proteins (GTRAP3-18, ARL6IP1) to GSH, EAAC1, and GS content differs and changes as Growing steers develop into Finished phenotypes. These findings provide mechanistic insight into how antioxidant capacity occurs in tissues of economic and metabolic importance as cattle fatten.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5152-5165
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 3 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This is publication no. 18-07-069 of the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station and is published with approval of the director. This work is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, AFRI project no. 11303353 (J.C.M., R.W.B.), The Kentucky Cattlemen's Association (J.C.M., R.W.B., P.J.B.), and the National Institutes of Health, General Medical Sciences project no. P20GM103436 (A.J.S.).

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Society of Animal Science. All rights reserved.


  • Adipose
  • Cattle
  • EAAC1
  • Glutathione
  • Liver
  • Muscle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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