The objective of our study was to assess the effect of rumen-protected niacin supplementation on the transcriptome of liver tissue in growing Angus × Simmental steers and heifers through RNA-seq analysis. Consequently, we wanted to assess the known role of niacin in the physiological processes of vasodilation, detoxification, and immune function in beef hepatic tissue. Normal weaned calves (-8 months old) were provided either a control diet or a diet supplemented with rumen-protected niacin (6 g/hd/d) for a 30-day period, followed by a liver biopsy. We observed a significant list of changes at the transcriptome level due to rumen-protected niacin supplementation. Several metabolic pathways revealed potential positive effects to the animal's liver metabolism due to administration of rumen-protected niacin; for example, a decrease in lipolysis, apoptosis, inflammatory responses, atherosclerosis, oxidative stress, fibrosis, and vasodilation-related pathways. Therefore, results from our study showed that the liver transcriptional machinery switched several metabolic pathways to a condition that could potentially benefit the health status of animals supplemented with rumen-protected niacin. In conclusion, based on the results of our study, we can suggest the utilization of rumen-protected niacin supplementation as a nutritional strategy could improve the health status of growing beef cattle in different beef production stages, such as backgrounding operations or new arrivals to a feedlot.
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