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Transportation Stress and Expression of Heat Shock Protein (Hsp) Affecting Pork Quality
Shu Tang1, Endong Bao1*, Karim R Sultan2, Bernhard Nowak3 and Jörg Hartung4
1College of Veterinary Medicine, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing 210095, China; 2Institute of Food Quality and Safety, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Foundation, Bünteweg 17p, 30559 Hannover, Germany; 3Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology II: Molecular Cell Biology, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany; 4Institute of Animal Hygiene, Animal Welfare and Behaviour of Farm Animals, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Foundation, Bünteweg 17p, 30559 Hannover, Germany. *Corresponding author:


The relationship between heat shock protein (Hsp) expression and meat quality were assessed in pigs. Carcasses from 2 h- and 6 h-transported pigs had higher temperatures and lower pH and water holding capacity values in the longissimus dorsi and gluteus maximus superficialis muscles. Long journeys were associated with increased creatine kinase (CK) levels. Higher CK levels are indicative of physical stress, as the enzyme is released from muscle fibers as a result of intense muscular exertion. These physiological and enzymatic changes were correlated with increased Hsp70 and decreased Hsp90 expression levels in both skeletal muscles. Animals whose cells contained high levels of Hsp may have had an advantage due to the protective role conferred by Hsp. Reduced Hsp levels were indicative of a higher meat quality and a good welfare of the transported pigs. The stress response declined over time in response to the same stress, such as a 6-h transport stress.

Key words: Heat shock protein, Meat quality, Pig, Stress, Transport


ISSN 0253-8318 (Print)
ISSN 2074-7764 (Online)