NCCC210: Regulation of Adipose Tissue Accretion in Meat-Producing Animals

(Multistate Research Coordinating Committee and Information Exchange Group)

Status: Active

NCCC210: Regulation of Adipose Tissue Accretion in Meat-Producing Animals

Duration: 10/01/2019 to 09/30/2024

Administrative Advisor(s):

NIFA Reps:

Non-Technical Summary

Statement of Issues and Justification

Statement of Issues and Justification

NCCC210, Regulation of Adipose Tissue Growth in Meat Animals, adequately addresses the needs of several stakeholders (consumers, livestock producers, and scientists). The composition of the committee includes scientists with general interest and expertise in factors that regulate the development and composition of adipose tissue in meat animals. The committee is well positioned to address important issues in the livestock industry such as the need to control excessive adipose tissue growth and modify its fatty acid profile. Committee members’ research also includes increasing understanding of the fundamental mechanisms of lipid metabolism in adipose and muscle. This will ultimately provide consumers with meat and meat products with enhanced nutritional value and other desirable qualities. Our efforts will lead to generation of information that will be useful for livestock producers to make decisions about production practices that will enhance meat animal productive efficiency, sensory characteristics, and advance nutritional contributions of meat in human diets. Other scientists will also benefit from data exchange, developments in techniques and methodology that result from the project through advancing the quest for knowledge of adipose tissue biology. Adipose tissue is well recognized as a dynamic tissue with impact on whole body metabolism. Greater benefit can be obtained through detailed understanding of its composition, biochemistry, endocrinology, and morphology.

Importance of the work

Members of the Committee attend an annual meeting to discuss results of research conducted by members in the past year and explore opportunities for collaborative research among individual laboratories. The annual meeting leads to generation of ideas and development of research strategies. The annual meeting also geared towards provided constructive criticism of future research by members to ensure that new research is conducted to provide data of importance to advancement of adipose tissue biology of meat animals. Research in the area of adipose biology is undergoing very rapid advancement. Therefore, there is a need to further continue this work with meat animal species and comparative animal models. If the research of this Project is not conducted, or if the group does not meet to advance the research, there is a chance that a void will be created among members regarding current knowledge and technologies in this field. The critical importance of adipose tissue in whole body metabolism puts this Committee’s expertise and work at the epicenter of meat animal lipid research. Continuing this project group will result in enhanced understanding of the biological mechanisms that are relevant to meat production strategy, dietary qualities of meat products for use in human diets.  Since the project’s science focuses in part in energy partitioning and lipid trafficking, it has implications for milk production and quality, as well.  In addition to the agricultural relevance of our research, project members also contribute to knowledge relevant to public health, especially in the area of obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

The committee has been closely aligned with NCCC131 (a national scope multistate committee) which was organized to concentrate on meat animal protein metabolism and muscle biology. Predecessors of NCCC210 were initially a major contributor to solving the then critical issues in meat animal fat metabolism including such topics as “soft pork.” Committee members were also keenly interested in comparative lipid metabolism and were among the first to establish the sites and mechanisms of de novo fatty acid synthesis across different species. Members have continued to focus on nutritional/ pharmacological treatments to change food animals to a leaner body composition. The utility of dietary conjugated linoleic acids on regulating fat deposition and the potential use of thiazolidinediones (human diabetes medicine) in marbling has been pursued more recently. Over the last thirty years mechanisms controlling adipocyte hyperplasia, differentiation, and growth (hypertrophy) and effects of somatotropin and beta-adrenergic agonists on body composition were also emphasized. An important outcome of the latter research was publication of “The Biology of Fat in Meat Animals: Current Advances,” by Project Committee members in 1995 (ASAS Press). Committee members also spawned the emergence of growth biology in University (Animal Sciences) curricula and in the establishment of the Growth and Biology section in the Journal of Animal Science. Members have recently focused on characterizing adipose-derived stem/progenitor cells and defining the thermogenic properties of adipose tissue.

The composition of NCCC210 Project Committee members is national and includes academics and USDA/ARS participants from throughout the USA. The impact of the project is broad and felt nationally and internationally in the U.S. academia and government laboratories and the food production and harvesting sector.  The Committee regularly invites different industry representatives, keynote speakers, and ad hoc participants to our annual meeting to provide a unique perspective on adipose tissue biology that complements Committee member expertise. An example is Dr. Shih-Torng Ding, a National Taiwan University Professor who continues to provide the committee with an international perspective through his guest participation.

Currently, NCCC210 members address problems in adipose tissue biology by using current techniques in molecular biology/gene expression, metabolite and fatty acid quantification and immunology and through the use of “OMICS” technologies.  Due to the species-independent nature of modern “omics” research analytical tools, the Committee has a unique opportunity to leverage these approaches to push the field of meat animal metabolism to new heights.

Prior research into adipose tissue functionality in the 60s, 70s and 80s were conducted using classical biochemical approaches to characterize key enzymes involved in glycolysis, lipogenesis, lipolysis and fatty acid oxidation. However, advancement in molecular biology techniques led to use of molecular approaches to study the role of various transcription factors such as sterol regulatory element binding protein (SREBP), peroxisome proliferator activated receptor ɣ (PPAR ɣ), and CCAAT enhancer-binding protein alpha (CEBP


  1. Dissemination among members emerging techniques regarding adipocyte biology is a primary objective for the NCCC210 project members.
    Comments: Experimental designs and the latest unpublished experimental data will also be reviewed through the personal-interactive process at the annual Project Committee meetings. There will also be engagement with members who cannot physically attend the Annual Meetings and other interested scientists using video conferencing technologies (e.g., Zoom). Interactions at these Annual Meetings result in improvements in experimental designs, methodology and data interpretation of committee members’ research to ensure high standards of science and greater impact of research accomplishments. The focus of the research on which there is dialogue at the NCCC210 Annual Meetings is on US and global issues in lipid and adipocyte biology because the committee membership and ad hoc participants are both from national (US) and international institutions and organizations. In summary, the Annual NCCC210 committee meeting has been and will continue to be the major forum for exchange of ideas and planning for this NCCC committee.
  2. Through the NCCC210 participant dialogue, plan to increasingly adopt newly emerging analytical technologies and experimental methodologies to refine understanding of adipose tissue biology and its role in regulation of whole-body metabolism in farm animals, animals used as models for gaining insights about adipose biology in other species, and humans.
    Comments: These emerging techniques include high throughput genomics and transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics and next-generation sequencing, SNP-genome wide association analyses, co-culture of myocytes and adipocytes, epigenetics and gene silencing with CRISPR an RNAi. There will be an investment of NCCC210 participant resources in the investigation of effect of the gut microbiome on appetite regulation and whole-body energy metabolism, especially with respect to impact of the microbiome on adipose tissue and muscle metabolism.
  3. The members of the NCCC210 committee in collaboration with leadership of scientific societies will sponsor two symposia at which there will be presentations by members of the NCCC210 Project Committee
    Comments: Specifically, we plan to sponsor a symposium at the American Society of Animal Science (ASAS) and either the Experiential Biology (EB) or the American Society for Nutrition annual meetings. The ASAS symposium will be focused on current issues in adipose biology and application to animal growth and development or health. There will also be a review of the latest information on regulation of intramuscular fat deposition. The second symposium will be a forum for reviewing the latest information on adipose tissue phenotypic switches, inflammation and stem cells and the use of comparative animal species to study current issues in adipose biology. Final topics for symposia will be determined upon consultations with partner societies and conference organizers.
  4. The NCCC210 committee members will focus on submitting a joint proposal to the USDA-NIFA and the NIH in a common area of research
    Comments: Proposed research in lipid or adipose biology will have application to animal agriculture and/or human obesity. The annual interaction by all members, as well as more frequent interactions of members collaborating on specific research endeavors, results in enhancement of the opportunities for extramural funding shared between our institutions to further research and discovery in the biology of lipids, especially utilizing emerging research methodologies for adipose tissue in meat animals and humans.
  5. For over 50 years, the members of the NCCC210 committee (and its predecessors) has accrued an enviable record of achievement to animal agriculture, quality of muscle foods and lipid biology.
    Comments: To continue this tradition, NCCC210 will sustain the coordination of the Project Committee through planning based on outcomes of ongoing research endeavors.

Procedures and Activities

NCCCC210's renewal will allow members to continue to provide expertise and national leadership for research in modern concepts and latest advancements in adipocyte biology and fundamental mechanism of fat deposition, intramuscular/intra-fascicular adipose development and animal growth. This is made possible through the continued contribution of our members to review panels such as USDA NIFA Animal Growth and Nutrient Utilization grant programs and the NIFA-NIH Dual Purpose Dual Benefit program. Members will continue to participate in activities that promote the dual-purpose use of livestock for agriculture and human health medicine in this renewal period (2019-2024). 

Through our activities, we plan to plan to increase adoption of new analytical technologies and experimental methodologies to refine understanding of adipose tissue biology and its role in regulation of whole-body metabolism in farm animals, animals used as models for gaining insights about adipose biology in other species, and humans. We will continue to embrace technologies that include high throughput genomics and transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics and next-generation sequencing, SNP-genome wide association analyses, co-culture of myocytes and adipocytes, epigenetics and gene silencing with CRISPR an RNAi. Members will also invest resources in the conduct of research on the effect of the gut microbiome on appetite regulation and whole-body energy metabolism, especially with respect to impact of the microbiome on adipose tissue and muscle metabolism.

The annual and regular dissemination of information among our members will facilitate engagement and dialogue among members on US and global issues in lipid and adipocyte biology.  

 The members of the NCCC210 committee in collaboration with leadership of scientific societies will sponsor two symposia at which there will be presentations by members of the NCCC210 Project Committee. Specifically, we will sponsor a symposium at the American Society of Animal Science (ASAS) and either the Experiential Biology (EB) or the American Society for Nutrition annual meetings. For ASAS, the ASAS symposium will be focused on current issues in adipose biology and application to animal growth and development or health. This symposium will allow us to review the latest information on regulation of intramuscular fat deposition. The second symposium will serve as a forum for reviewing the latest information on adipose tissue phenotypic switches (browning, beiging and adipose tissue trans differentiation), inflammation and stem cells and the use of comparative animal species to study current issues in adipose biology. We will work with executives of our partner societies to finalize the topics of these symposia.

Although this has never been done before, NCCC210 committee members will strive to submit a joint proposal to either the USDA-NIFA or the NIH in a common area of research. We will work on an area of lipid or adipose biology that will help advance the field and foster collaboration among members if funded. It is our expectation that a funded joint research project will help advance discovery in the biology of lipids, especially utilizing emerging research methodologies for adipose tissue research in meat animals and humans.

NCCC210 has a long history of scholarly achievements in adipose and lipid biology. Members have historically been in the cutting edge of discovery in adipose biology. This has historically been made possible through the commitment of members to fruitful academic interactions. We will continue this tradition. NCCC210 will sustain the coordination of the Project Committee through planning based on outcomes of ongoing research endeavors.


Project Milestones and Dates for Completion of the Objectives:

 Members of this committee conduct research in the areas described within the Objectives. Progress within any specific Objective is directly associated with the amount of funding each member obtains to develop appropriate experiments. There is no possible means to establish timelines or milestones because the funding sources are inconsistent and grants are obtained by individuals rather than the committee as a group. It is our ongoing goal to develop collaborative research. However, the uncertainty with which funding occurs under our Committee’s established framework does not allow for discrete timelines or for accomplishment of objective number four.

Under this renewal, we will strive to have one of our sponsored symposia within the first two years of this renewal and the second one in the second two years.

Members of the committee are committed to the annual meeting for dissemination of ideas and fostering of collaboration.


Expected Outcomes and Impacts

  • Exchange of ideas, information, techniques, experimental design, and data Comments: The open and extensive exchange of information and ideas at the annual Project Committee meeting provides important suggestions to investigators about design of experiments and new approaches not previously considered. Input from multiple persons with expertise about experiments and data interpretation heightens the quality of scientific endeavors of Project Committee members. The annual Project Committee meeting that will be held close to either the Experimental Biology or the ASN meetings is the primary avenue through which all members of the committee work with each other in an interactive forum. Our annual meetings will facilitate exchange of ideas among participants.
  • Initiate new and relevant individual and collaborative research projects through development of a joint grant application to the USDA-NIH Comments: Although much of the experimentation by members precludes exchange of materials because of sample fragility, co-operative projects arise from the high quality and thought provoking research discussions between members at the annual meeting. We will strive to apply for a joint grant. If awarded, the grant will help support a collaborative project.
  • Adopt newly emerging analytical technologies and experimental methodologies Comments: Through regular interactions and exchange of ideas among members, we expect that an output of this project will be easy adoption of new technologies relating to the latest advances in adipose/lipid biology.
  • NCCC210 committee in collaboration with leadership of scientific societies will sponsor two symposia Comments: Symposia that will be sponsored will serve as avenues for sharing latest knowledge in adipose-lipid biology. These will serve as avenues for informing and educating members and the public.
  • Provide national leadership in adipose biology Comments: Our members will continue to provide leadership that advance the study of adipose biology through our service as reviewers for grants, manuscripts, on editorial boards, and as consultants. This will allow members to influence adipose biology education and policies.

Projected Participation

View Appendix E: Participation

Educational Plan

The annual Project Committee meeting is enhanced by attendance of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows associated with members of the Committee. These young scientists are encouraged to actively participate and to present results to the group and several have been employed to tenure track position and now contribute as state representative Project Committee members. Typically, a representative from industry is invited to participate/present at the meeting allowing members to make contacts and discuss funding opportunities. New members are solicited, as current members become aware of scientists doing research on adipose tissue growth. The results from the research of Project Committee members are disseminated in a multiplicity of reviewed journal articles coupled with numerous published symposia proceedings and book chapters. We plan to recruit new faculty and student members from stations that have not been participating in Project activities. 


The Governance for NCCC210 includes the election of a Chair, a Chair-elect, and Secretary. All officers are elected for one year. The Chair-elect arrange the meeting for the subsequent year. Continuity is provided by the stable membership and excellent attendance. Administrative guidance is provided by an assigned Administrative Advisor and a NIFA representative.

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  51. Ma, ,  Y.H.B.  Kim,  B.  Cooper,  J.H.  Oh,  H.  Chun,  J.H.  Choe,  J.P.  Schoonmaker, K. Ajuwon, and B. Min. 2017. Metabolomics profiling to determine the effect of postmortem aging  on  color  and  lipid  oxidative  stabilities  of  different  bovine  muscles.  J.  Agric.  Food.  Chem. 65:6708-6716. doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.7b02175.

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  53. Clemmons, A.,   Mihelic,   R.I.,   Beckford,   R.C.,   Powers,   J.B.,   Melchior,   E.A.,  McFarlane,  Z.D.,  Cope,  E.R.,  Embree,  M.M.,  Mulliniks,  R.T.,  Campagna S.R.,  Voy, B.H.,  and  Myer,  P.R.  Serum  Metabolites  Associated  with  Feed  Efficiency  in  Black  Angus Steers. Metabolomics. 13 (12), 147, 2017.

  54. Beckford, R,      Tague,   S.   Campagna,   and   B.   H.   Voy.   Transcriptomic   and   Metabolomic Profiling of Chicken Adipose Tissue: Dual Purpose Benefit for Human Obesity and Poultry Production, Current Metabolomics, in press.

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  57. Regassa*, ,  M.  Suh,  J.  Datar,  C.  Chen*,  and  W.  K.  Kim  (2017)  Fatty  acids  have  different  adipogenic  differentiation  potentials  in  stromal  vascular  cells  isolated  from abdominal fat in laying hens. Lipids 52:513-522.

  58. Regassa*, ,  D.  Lee,  S  Choi,  C  Song,  and  W.  K.  Kim  (2017)  Potent  anti-adipogenic effect of green tea extracts in chicken. Journal of Diabetes and Obesity 4:1- 6.

  59. Regassa*, ,  E.  Kiarie,  J.S.  Sands,  M.C.  Walsh, W.K.  Kim,  and  C.M.  Nyachoti  (2017)  Nutritional  and  metabolic  implications  of  replacing  corn  starch  with  D -xylose  in  broiler  chickens fed corn and soy bean meal-based diet. Poultry Science 96:388-396. Norris,  KM,  W.  Okie,  W.K.  Kim ,  R  Adhikari*,  S  King,  and  R  Pazdro.  (2016)  A  high-fat diet  differentially  regulates  glutathione  homeostasis  in  the  obesity -prone  mouse  strains  DBA/2J, C57BL/6J, and AKR/J. Nutrition Research 36:1316-1324.

  60. Regassa*, ,  K.W.  Park,  and W.K.  Kim  (2016)  Phenamil  enhances  the  adipogenic differentiation of hen preadipocytes Cell Biology International 40: 1123-1128.


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