The present study was designed to investigate whether meat-type rabbits are able to perform treadmill running as a daily routine exercise, and if so, whether the exercise induces specific proportional changes in the fatty acid composition of their muscles. After a four-week training period 8-week-old rabbits were slaughtered and the total activity of plasma lactate dehydrogenase was measured, showing a significant difference between the exercised and control groups (429 ± 126 IU/1 vs. 639 ± 203 IU/I). Furthermore the fatty acid composition of m. longissimus dorsi (MLD) and m. vastus lateralis (MVL) was determined by means of gas chromatography. Exercise increased the proportions of oleic acid (C18:1 n-9) in both MLD and MVL as compared to the control group. However, the level of stearic (C18:0) and arachidonic (C20:4 n-6) acids significantly decreased in the MVL after the exercise. Changes in the fatty acid profile resulting from the physically loaded condition were of the same tendency in both muscles, adding that the MVL might have been exposed to the exercise more intensively; alterations there occurred in a more pronounced manner. Based on the inference that the composition of membrane structure was also affected, these alterations may have important consequences on meat quality.
- Muscle fatty acid composition
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