Leptin (T3469C) and Estrogen Receptor (T1665G) Gene Polymorphisms and Their Associations to Backfat Thickness and Reproductive Traits of Large White Pigs (Sus scrofa L.)

Renato SA. Vega1, Ronne Matthews C. Castillo2, Nyka Noelle B. Barrientos3,
Mariedel M. Llanes-Autriz4, Byung-Wook Cho5, Celia B. de la Viña6, and Neilyn O. Villa6

1Animal Physiology Division, Institute of Animal Science, College of Agriculture and
Food Science, University of the Philippines Los Baños 4031 College, Laguna
2U.P. Rural High School, College of Arts and Sciences, UP Los Baños 4031 College, Laguna
3Medical Student, University of the Philippines Manila,
4Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture, Food, Environment and
Natural Resources, Cavite State University, Indang, Cavite
5Department of Animal Science, College of Natural Resources and Life Sciences,
Pusan National University, Miryang 627 – 702, Busan, Republic of Korea
6Genetics and Molecular Biology Division, Institute of Biological Sciences,
College of Arts and Sciences, UP Los Baños 4031 College, Laguna

*Corresponding author: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




The study was conducted to associate polymorphism of the leptin (LEP) and the estrogen receptor (ESR) genes with backfat thickness and reproductive performance in Large White sows. Nuclear DNA was isolated from hair follicles of 24 (for LEP) and 30 (for ESR) Large White sows in a commercial breeder farm. Amplification of the T3469C region of LEP and T1665G region of ESR was accomplished following digestion with Hinfl and PvuII restriction enzymes, respectively. Electrophoresis of the LEP digestion products revealed genotype frequencies of 0.625 for TT (n=15), 0.25 for TC (6), and 0.125 for CC (3).Meanwhile the ESR genotype frequencies for AA, AB, and BB were 0.50 (15), 0.37 (11), and 0.13 (4), respectively. LEP polymorphism was not related to backfat thickness at farrowing and 21 days of lactation. Significant genotype associations were observed only for total litter size at birth (p<0.05) and total litter size born alive (p<0.01). ESR polymorphism was not significantly different for backfat thickness, litter size at birth, litter size at weaning, weight at 21 days old, and weaning to estrus interval. The three Large White sows having the CC LEP genotype have14 litters size born alive. It is recommended that more Large White CC genotype sows be kept and monitored for further validation of the T3469C LEP polymorphism as candidate marker for sow productivity.

Key words: BFT, ESR, leptin, reproductive traits, single nucleotide polymorphism



Generally, reproduction traits have low heritable estimates (Robison & Revelle 1973) compared to production traits in all livestock species. Pigs are unique among all mammals because they undergo multiple ovulations and deliver an average of ten piglets in every farrowing. Hence, sows are generally on negative energy balance from farrowing to weaning i.e., they utilize their body energy reserve for the recovery of the brain, uterus, and ovary while nursing an average of ten growing piglets for the period of 30 days (Flowers 2002).Thus, earlier age of weaning (23 days old) was reported to have significant increase in litters born alive by 0.5 compared to 29 days weaning (Vega et al. 2012). . . . . . read more



BAUER M, BABELOVA A, OMELKA R, BAUEROVA M. 2006. Association of HinfI polymorphism in the leptin gene with production traits in White Improved Pig Breed. Slovak J. Anim Sci 39(3): 119-122.

BUSKE B, STERNSTEIN I, BROCKMANN G. 2006. QTL and candidate genes for fecundity in sows. Anim Reprod Sci 95: 167-183

Chen C, ChangT, SU H. 2004. Genetic polymorphisms in porcine leptin gene and their association with reproduction and production traits. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 55(6): 699-704.

DELAVAUD C, BOCQUIER F, CHILLIARD Y, KEISLER DH, GERTLER A, KANN G. 2000. Plasma leptin determination in ruminants: effect of nutritional status and body fatness on plasma leptin concentration assessed by a specific RIA in sheep. Journal of Endocrinology 165: 519-526.

DING X, YAN Y, ZANG C, DING Y, YIN Z. 2011. Association of leptin gene polymorphism with litter performance trait in four Chinese Indigenous Pig Breeds. J. of Anim. and Vet. Adv. 10(5): 663-667.

FLOWERS B. 2002. Using reproductive physiology to troubleshoot fertility problems(Part II). Swine News. North Carolina State Swine Extension. Vol. 25 No. 8. Retrieved from on 31 May 2012.

HOUDE AA, MÉTHOT S, MURPHY BD, BORDIGNON V, PALIN MF. 2010. Relationships between backfat thickness and reproductive efficiency of sows: A two-yr trial involving two commercial herds fixing backfat thickness at breeding. Canadian J. of Anim. Sci.90:429-436. 10.4141/CJAS09115

KOŁODZIEJ A, PIETRUSZKA A, JACYNO E, KAWĘCKA M, STĘPIEŃ-POLESZAK D, SOBOCIŃSKA A. 2009. The leptin gene polymorphisms and production traits in boars. Acta Sci. Pol., Zootechnica 8(1-2): 11-18.

KULIG H, GRZESIAK W, SZATKOWSKA I. 2001. Effect of leptin gene polymorphism on carcass traits in pigs. Arch Tierz, Dummerstorf 44(3): 291-296.

LIU   K, MUSE S. 2005. PowerMarker: an integrated analysis environment for genetic marker analysis. Oxford University Press Vol. 21 no. 9.

MA J, LI M, WANG H, LI X. 2012. Genotyping of the porcine ryanodine receptor 1 (RYR1) and estrogen receptor 1 (ESR1) genes by high resolution melting (HRM) approach. Biotech and Bioprocessing Engineering 17: 1076-79. DOI 10, 1007/s12257-012-0139-6.

MANTZOROS CS, FLIER JS, ROGOL AD. 1997. A longitudinal assessment of hormonal and physical alterations during normal puberty in boys. V. Rising leptin levels may signal the onset of puberty. J. Clin. Endocrinol. & Metab. 82: 1066-70.

OMELKA R, BAUEROVA M, MLYNEK J, BUCHOVA B, PESKOVICOVA D, BULLA J. 2005. Effect of the oestrogen receptor (ESR) gene on reproductive traits of Large White, White Meaty, and Landrace pigs. Czech Journal in Animal Science p. 249-253. Proteus vulgaris. (n.d.) Hartmann. Retrieved from on 28 Nov 2015.

PEIXOTO JO, FARIA DA, SILVA PV, FONSECA I, LOPES PS, GUIMARAES SEF. 2009. Association between leptin gene single nucleotide polymorphisms and carcass traits in pigs. R. Bras. Zootec 38(2): 271-276
PEIXOTO JO, GUIMARÃES SEF, LOPES PS, SOARES MMA, VIEIRA PA, BARBOSA MVG, TORRES RA, SILVA MA. 2006. Associations of leptin gene polymorphisms with production traits in pigs. Journal of Animal Breeding and Genetics 123(6): 378-383.

RENS B. 2001. ESR and PRLR . In Physiological aspects of two major genes for litter size in pigs (p. 3-6). Wageningen,Netherlands: Van Gils.

ROBERT C, PALIN M, COULOMBE N, ROBERGE C, SILVERSIDES FG, BENKEL BF, MCKAY RM, PELLETIER G. 1998. Backfat thickness in pigs is positively associated with leptin mRNA levels. Can. J. Anim. Sci. 78:473-482.

ROBISON W, REVELLE T. 1973. An Explanation For The Low Heritability Of Litter Size In Swine. Journal of Animal Science 37: 668-675.

ROTHSCHILD M, JACOBSON C, VASKE D, TUGGLE C, WANG L, SHORT T, ECKARDT G, SASAKI S, VINCENT A, MCLAREN D, SOUTHWOOD O, VAN DER STEEN H, MILEHAM A, PLASTOW G. 1996. The estrogen receptor locus is associated with a major gene influencing litter size in pigs. PNAS 93: 201-205.

ROTHSCHILD M, STALDER K, DEKKERS J. 2010. Genomic selection shows promise in swine breeding. Iowa State University. Retrieved from National Hog Farmer: accessed on 12 Jul 2014.

RYBARCZYK A, KMIEĆ M, GARDZIELEWSKA J, KARAMUCKI T, JAKUBOWSKA G, TERMAN A, POLASIK D. 2010. Effect of carcass meatiness level on meat quality of pigs monomorphic at genes RYR1 and LEP. Polish J of Nutrition Sci. 59(4): 325-328.

SANTANA B, BIASE F, ANTUNES R, BORGES M, FRANCO M, GOULART L.2006. Association of the estrogen receptor gene PvuII restriction polymorphism with expected progeny differences for reproductive and performance traits in swine herds in Brazil. Genetics and Molecular Biology 29: 273-277.

SCHENKEL FS, MILLER SP, YEX, MOORE SS, NKRUMAH JD, LI C, YU J, MANDELL IB, WILTON JW, WILLIAMS JL. 2005. Association of single nucleotide polymorphisms in the leptin gene with carcass and meat quality traits of beef cattle. J. of Anim. Sci.  83(9): 2009-20.

SHORT T, ROTHSCHILD M, SOUTHWOOD O, MCLAREN D, DE VRIES A, VAN DER STEEN H, ECKARDT G, TUGGLE C, HELM J, VASKE D, MILEHAM A, PLASTOW G. 1997. Effect of the estrogen receptor locus on reproduction and production traits in four Commercial Pig Lines. Journal of Animal Science 75: 3138-42.

SILVEIRA ACP, ANTUNES RC, ALMEDIA JF, BRAGA TF, FREITAS PFA, CESAR ASM, GUIMARAES EC.  2008. Obese gene polymorphism in Pietrain and Large White pigs after divergent selection. Genetics and Molecular Research 7(4): 1217-22.

STEPIEN-POLESZAK D, PEITRUSZKA A, KAWEKA M. 2009. Effect of leptin gene polymorphism on slaughter value of line 990 pigs. Acta Vet BRNO 78: 267-272.

SUWANASOPEE T, KOONAWOOTRITTRIRON S. 2011. Genetic markers on reproductive traits in pigs . Thai J Vet Med Supplementary p. 73-76.

SUZUKI K, INOMATA K, KATOH K, KADOWAKI H, SHIBATA T. 2009. Genetic correlations among carcass cross-sectional fat area ratios, production traits, intramuscular fat, and serum leptin concentration in Duroc pigs. J. Anim. Sci. 87:2209-15.

TAKAHASHI M, FUNAHASHI T, SHIMOMURA I, MIYAOKA K, MATSUZAWA Y. 1996. Plasma leptin levels and body fat distribution. Hormone Metabolic Research 28:751-752.

TERMAN A, KUMALSKA M. 2012. The Effect of a SNP in ESR gene on the reproductive performance traits in Polish Sows. Russian Journal of Genetics 48(12): 1260-63.

VEGA RA, LEE HG, KUWAYAMA H, MATSUNAGA N, HIDARI H. 2002. Age-related changes in plasma leptin from early growing to late finishing stages of castrated Holstein steers: Utilizing multi-species leptin RIA. Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Science 15(5): 725-31.

VEGA RA, HIDARI H, KUWAYAMA H, SUZUKI M, MANALO DD. 2004a. The relationships of plasma leptin, backfat thickness and TDN intake across finishing stage of Holstein steers. Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Science 17(3): 330-36.

VEGA RA, HIDARI H, MATSUNAGA N, KUWAYAMA H, MANALO DD, LEE HG, HATA H. 2004b. Plasma leptin and performance of purebred and backcrossed Hereford throughout grazing and feedlot fattening. Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Science 17(7): 954-959.

VEGA RSA, ESTRELLA CAS, VALERA AMP, CALUD AT, VILLAR EC. 2012. Performance of selected Philippine commercial piggery farms weaning at different ages. Phil J of Vet and Anim Sci. 38(2): 127-133.

WIERZCHOWSKA A, KOŁODZIEJ-SKALSKA A, NAPIERALA D, KAWECKA M, JACYNO M. 2012. The association of leptin gene polymorphism with reproductive usefulness and selected biochemical indicators of Hybrid Sows (Polish Large White x Polish Landrace). Acta Veterinary BRNO 81:333-337.

YE LZ, NIU BY, LUO LF, SHAO GC, MEI SQ, DENG CY, JIANG SW, XIONG YZ, LI FE. 2009. Simultaneous identification and combined genotype effects analysis of pre-implantation protein 3 (PREI3) and estrogen receptor (ESR) gene in Pigs. Livestock Sci 125: 80-83.