Genetic Influences on Fetal Maturation in Pig: Transcriptomic Studies of the Adrenal Gland

Program: Abstracts - Orals, Featured Poster Presentations, and Posters
Session: SAT 389-413-Signaling and Transcriptional Control in Endocrine Systems
Saturday, June 15, 2013: 1:45 PM-3:45 PM
Expo Halls ABC (Moscone Center)

Poster Board SAT-404
Elena Terenina*1, Laurence Liaubet1, Nathalie Iannuccelli1, Yannick Lippi2, Pascal Martin2, Yann Labrune1, Magali SanCristobal1 and Pierre Mormede1
1INRA, Castanet-Tolosan, France, 2INRA, Toulouse, France
Piglet mortality is a major source of economic loss in pig production and a social and ethical problem related to animal welfare. The present experiment was designed to take advantage of two extreme breeds for piglet maturity, Large White (LW) with an increased neonatal mortality and Meishan (MS) more mature at birth (1). In order to sort apart the respective influence of the maternal and fetal genotype, LW and MS sows were inseminated with mixed semen (LW+MS), giving purebred fetuses in their respective maternal genetic environment and (±) genetically identical F1 fetuses in each maternal environment. Fetuses were delivered naturally (114 days) or by cesarean section at 90 or 110 days of gestation. Adrenal glands were harvested at necropsy to characterize the molecular bases of late development of adrenal glands that are known to play an important role in the genetic variation of cortisol production and in adaptation to extra-uterine life and neonatal vitality.

After normalization and filtering, 43385 of the 61625 transcripts present on pangenomic arrays (Agilent PORCINET 60K) were found to be expressed in the adrenal glands. The multivariate analysis of expression profiles clearly distinguished the experimental groups, with the first axis (explaining 44% of variance) separating fetal ages and the second axis (explaining 30% of variance) separating genetic groups. 178 transcripts (FDR<5%) were significantly regulated with regard to the interaction between genotypes and gestational stages. The Ingenuity software ( showed that among the differentially expressed genes (DEG) two functional networks were related to steroidogenesis and cytoskeleton structure and functions. The available promoter sequences of the DEG were inspected for transcription factors binding sites (TFBS) using most recent available matrices (JASPAR, TRANSFAC) and tools (cREMaG database (2)).

This approach provides novel insights into the molecular mechanisms controlling the process of gene transcription during the development of the adrenal gland and how they are related to physiology (HPA axis function, glycogen) and maturity phenotypes. The genes identified in the current study will also be candidates as biomarkers of pre-term maturity.

(1) Canario L et al., J Anim Sci 2006; 84:3185. (2) Piechota M et al.,  PLOS One 2010;  5:e12465.

Nothing to Disclose: ET, LL, NI, YL, PM, YL, MS, PM

*Please take note of The Endocrine Society's News Embargo Policy at

Sources of Research Support: INRA (Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique); Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR-09-GENM-005) awarded to LL