The present study was undertaken to determine the tissue-specific expression of estrogen receptor beta (ERβ), and the effects of a daidzein supplement to the diet of pregnant sows on the expression of ERβ, and type 1 insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGF-1R) genes in newborn piglets by using semi-quantitative RT-PCR. Eight sows received a dietary supplement of daidzein at a dosage of 8 mg per kg feed from day 85 of gestation, and six sows were used as controls. After parturition, 2 male neonatal piglets were selected from each litter for sampling. ERβ mRNA was detected in intestine, lung, thymus, kidney, pituitary and hypothalamus tissues, but not in heart, adrenal, skeletal muscle, liver or placental tissues. Daidzein treatment significantly increased the birth weight of male piglets and markedly reduced the level of ERβ mRNA in the hypothalamus, but not in the pituitary. An up-regulation of IGF-1R gene transcription was observed in skeletal muscles of newborn piglets. In addition, the IGF-1R mRNA was found to be most abundant in pituitary and hypothalamus, followed by skeletal muscle, thymus, and liver tissues in decreasing order. Our results demonstrate that (1) ERβ is expressed in a tissue-specific manner in newborn piglets, (2) daidzein down-regulates ERβ gene expression in the hypothalamus, possibly indicating central effects of daidzein, and (3) daidzein influences fetal growth associated with higher IGF-IR gene expression in skeletal muscle.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism