Intramuscular Administration of Zinc Metallothionein to Preslaughter Stressed Pigs Improves Anti-oxidative Status and Pork Quality

  • Li, L.L. ;
  • Hou, Z.P. ;
  • Yin, Y.L. ;
  • Liu, Y.H. ;
  • Hou, D.X. ;
  • Zhang, B. ;
  • Wu, G.Y. ;
  • Kim, S.W. ;
  • Fan, M.Z. ;
  • Yang, C.B. ;
  • Kong, X.F. ;
  • Tang, Z.R. ;
  • Peng, H.Z. ;
  • Deng, D. ;
  • Deng, Z.Y. ;
  • Xie, M.Y. ;
  • Xiong, H. ;
  • Kang, P. ;
  • Wang, S.X.
  • Received : 2006.07.02
  • Accepted : 2006.09.05
  • Published : 2007.05.01


This study was conducted to determine the effects of exogenous zinc-metallothionein (Zn-MT) on anti-oxidative function and pork quality. After feeding a corn-soybean meal-based diet for two weeks, 48 pigs ($Duroc{\times}Landrace{\times}Chinese\;Black Pig$) were assigned randomly to four groups. Pigs in Group 1 were maintained under non-stress conditions, whereas pigs in Groups 2, 3 and 4 were aggressively handled for 25 min to produce stress. Pigs in Groups 1, 2, 3, and 4 received intramuscular administration of saline (control group; CON), 0 (negative control group; NCON), 0.8 (low dose group; LOW), and 1.6 (high dose group; HIGH) mg rabbit liver Zn-MT per kg body weight, respectively. Pigs were slaughtered at 3 and 6 h post-injection. Zn-MT treatment increased (p<0.05) the activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione-peroxidase (GSH-PX) while decreasing the concentration of malondialdehyde (MDA) in liver. These responses were greater (p<0.05) at 6 h than at 3 h post Zn-MT injection. Zn-MT treatment increased (p<0.05) hepatic SOD mRNA levels in a time and dose-dependent manner and decreased (p<0.05) serum glutamate-pyruvate transaminase and lactate dehydrogenase activities (indicators of tissue integrity). Zn-MT administration decreased (p<0.05) lactate concentration and increased (p<0.05) pH and water-holding capacity in the longissimus thorasis meat. Collectively, our results indicate that intramuscular administration of Zn-MT to pre-slaughter stressed pigs improved tissue anti-oxidative ability and meat quality.


Stress;Metallothionein;Anti-oxidative Enzyme;Superoxide Dismutase Gene Expression;Pork Meat Quality


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Supported by : National Science Foundation of China