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MicroRNAs as biomarkers for meat quality and evidence of absorption of beef-derived microRNAs in the mammalian digestive system
AuthorMezzomo Giotto, Francine
Advisorde Mello, Amilton
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The research presented herein studied the expression kinetics of microRNAs (miRs) in bovine muscle and beef. We evaluated the resilience of these small RNAs during aging, cooking and digestion processes, correlations between miRs and meat tenderness, evidence of the absorption of beef-derived miRs in mice intestines and the nutrigenomics effects of cattle feeding on animal metabolic processes and RNA expression in bovine muscle. This research also generated novel hypothesis about possible effects of food-derived miRs on gene expression in recipients.The trials presented in the first chapter studied the stability of miRs in fresh and aged bovine muscle. We evaluated the expression of genes and miRs from two bovine muscles and correlated their expressions with beef tenderness. Our data supported the hypothesis that a cluster of miRs are biomarkers for beef tenderness and can be used as a predicting tool for this quality attribute. The ability of predicting desirable consumer preferences allows the meat industry to offer a product with consistent quality and higher value. The research presented in the second chapter evaluated the bioavailability of bovine miRs after beef underwent cooking and in vitro digestion processes. Subsequently, we tested if beef-derived miRs could be absorbed in the intestines of mammalians. The small RNA sequencing showed that 413 miRs were expressed in digested beef. Data analysis suggested statistical differences in 33 miR expressions when comparing fresh vs digested samples. Surprisingly, 12 miRs were upregulated in digested samples. Overall, there were 10 predominant miRs in digested beef and four were observed in mice intestines 3 hours postprandial. Out of those four, the expression of miR-486 increased 2-fold in the intestines of mice fed beef when compared to intestines of unfed mice. Data presented in this chapter supports the hypothesis that beef-derived miRs can be absorbed in the intestines. The third chapter studied the effects of different cattle diets on beef quality, their nutrigenomics effects on animal metabolism and the expression of miRs in the lean muscle tissue. Feeding different diets led to distinct effects on meat quality, gene ontology biological processes and RNA expression in beef. Animal feeding plays an important role in modulating miRs. As a summary, research conducted in these chapters demonstrated that it is possible to target an optimal molecular profile of beef by elaborating animal diets that can increase the expression of miRs associated with desirable gene silencing pathways in humans. Future research must focus on understanding mechanism of absorption, distribution within tissues, and the effects of food exogenous miRs on genes that modulate human homeostasis.