Integration, expression and germ-line transmission of growth-related genes in pigs.

V. G. Pursel, Robert E Hammer, D. J. Bolt, R. D. Palmiter, R. L. Brinster

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52 Scopus citations


We have produced transgenic pigs that harbour structural genes for bovine and human growth hormone (bGH and hGH) ligated to a mouse metallothionein-I (MT) promoter, human growth hormone-releasing factor (hGRF) ligated to the MT or mouse albumin (ALB) promoter, and human insulin-like growth factor-I (hIGF-I) ligated to MT promoter. From 0.31 to 1.03% of microinjected ova developed into transgenic pigs with the various fusion genes. Foreign GH was present in plasma of 61% of the MT-hGH and 89% of the MT-bGH transgenic pigs. Two of 7 pigs with MT-hGRF and all 3 ALB-hGRF transgenic pigs had high concentrations of GRF in their plasma, but plasma concentrations of porcine GH (pGH) were not higher in GRF transgenic pigs than in littermate control pigs. In contrast, plasma concentrations at birth ranged from 3 to 949 ng hGH/ml for MT-hGH transgenic pigs and 5 to 944 ng bGH/ml for MT-bGH transgenic pigs. Presence of the foreign GH depressed endogenous pGH to non-detectable levels. In MT-bGH transgenic pigs, plasma IGF-I was elevated more than 2-fold, plasma glucose was elevated about 30 mg/dl, and plasma insulin was 20-fold higher than in littermate or sibling control pigs. Two lines of pigs expressing the MT-bGH transgene gained 11.1% and 13.7% faster, and were 18% more efficient in converting feed to body weight gain than were sibling control pigs. Expression of the MT-bGH transgene caused a marked repartitioning of nutrients from subcutaneous fat into other carcass components, including muscle, skin, bone and certain organs. The persistent excess hGH or bGH in transgenic pigs was detrimental to general health; lameness, lethargy and gastric ulcers were the most prevalent problems. Gilts that expressed the hGH or bGH transgenes were anoestrous. Germ-line transmission was obtained in 4 of 5 expressing transgenic boars and 4 of 5 nonexpressing transgenic boars and gilts. From 2% to 73% of progeny inherited a transgene from founder transgenics. All transgenic progeny of MT-hGH, MT-bGH and MT-hGRF founder males expressed the transgene if their sire also expressed the gene. The concentration of bGH or hGH in plasma of transgenic progeny was similar to the concentration present in the founder transgenic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-87
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of reproduction and fertility. Supplement
StatePublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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