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In mammals, peripheral serotonin is involved in regulating energy balance. Herein, we characterized the transcriptomic profile and microstructure of adipose and muscle in pre-weaned calves with increased circulating serotonin. Holstein bull calves (21 ± 2 days old) were fed milk replacer supplemented with saline (CON, 8 mL/day n = 4) or 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP, 90 mg/day, n = 4) for 10 consecutive days. Calves were euthanized on d10 to harvest adipose and muscle for RNA-Sequencing and histological analyses. Twenty-two genes were differentially expressed in adipose, and 33 in muscle. Notably, Interferon gamma inducible protein-47 was highly expressed and upregulated in muscle and adipose (avg. log FC = 6.5). Enriched pathways in adipose tissue revealed serotonin's participation in lipid metabolism and PPAR signaling. In muscle, enriched pathways were related to histone acetyltransferase binding, Jak-STAT signaling, PI3K-Akt signaling and cell proliferation. Supplementation of 5-HTP increased cell proliferation and total cell number in adipose and muscle. Adipocyte surface area was smaller and muscle fiber area was not different in the 5-HTP group. Manipulating the serotonin pathway, through oral supplementation of 5-HTP, influences signaling pathways and cellular processes in adipose and muscle related to endocrine and metabolic functions which might translate into improvements in calf growth and development.


Sena L Field, Marcela G Marrero, Lihe Liu, Francisco Peñagaricano, Jimena Laporta. Histological and transcriptomic analysis of adipose and muscle of dairy calves supplemented with 5-hydroxytryptophan. Scientific reports. 2021 May 06;11(1):9665

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PMID: 33958639

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