Serum concentrations of leptin in six genetic lines of swine and relationship with growth and carcass characteristics


The objective of this study was to evaluate the relationship between serum concentrations of the hormone leptin with growth and carcass traits in six distinct breeds of pigs entered into the 2000 National Barrow Show Sire Progeny Test. Breeds evaluated were Berkshire (n = 131), Chester White (n = 33), Duroc (n = 40), Landrace (n = 23), Poland China (n = 26), and Yorkshire (n = 41). Serum samples were collected and assayed for concentrations of leptin at entry into test (On-Test Leptin) at 34 ± 6.7 kg of live weight and again 24 h prior to harvest (Off-Test Leptin) at 111 ± 3.1 kg of live weight. Carcass measurements taken included hot carcass weight, carcass length, backfat, longissimus muscle area (LMA), longissimus pH, Hunter L-value, chemically determined intramuscular fat (IMF), and subjective color, marbling, and firmness scores. Average daily gain, IMF percentages, and water-holding capacity (WHC) were also determined. On-Test Leptin concentrations were not different (P > 0.10) between swine breeds; however, Off-Test Leptin concentrations did differ (P < 0.001) across genotype. Berkshire had the greatest Off-Test Leptin concentrations (6.58 ± 0.43 ng/mL), and Duroc and Yorkshire had the lowest (3.49 and 3.96 ± 0.68 ng/mL; respectively). In addition, Off-Test Leptin concentrations were correlated with average daily gain (r = 0.29; P < 0.001), last-rib fat thickness (r = 0.48; P < 0.001), 10th rib backfat (r = 0.52; P < 0.001), LMA (r = −0.33; P < 0.001), percent fat-free carcass lean (r = −0.51; P < 0.001), and WHC (r = 0.15; P < 0.05). Off-Test Leptin concentrations also differed by gender, with barrows having greater (P < 0.001) serum concentrations of leptin than gilts (6.55 ± 0.48 vs 3.35 ± 0.44). Differences exist between breeds of pigs in a manner consistent with breed-specific traits for growth, leanness, and quality; thus, leptin may serve as a useful marker for selection or identification of specific growth and carcass traits.

Document Type




Publication Date


Journal Title

Journal of Animal Science 81