University of Oulu

Weldenegodguad, M., Pokharel, K., Niiranen, L. et al. Adipose gene expression profiles reveal insights into the adaptation of northern Eurasian semi-domestic reindeer (Rangifer tarandus). Commun Biol 4, 1170 (2021).

Adipose gene expression profiles reveal insights into the adaptation of northern Eurasian semi-domestic reindeer (Rangifer tarandus)

Saved in:
Author: Weldenegodguad, Melak1,2; Pokharel, Kisun1; Niiranen, Laura3;
Organizations: 1Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Jokioinen, Finland
2Department of Environmental and Biological Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland
3Research Unit of Biomedicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
4Arctic Centre, University of Lapland, Rovaniemi, Finland
5Laboratory of Reindeer Husbandry and Traditional Industries, Yakut Scientific Research Institute of Agriculture, Yakutsk, The Sakha Republic (Yakutia), Russia
6NordGen—Nordic Genetic Resource Center, Ås, Norway
7Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Maaninka, Finland
8Department of Ecosystems in the Barents Region, Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research, Svanvik, Norway
9Medical Research Center, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
10Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
11Institute of Pediatrics, Poznań University of Medical Sciences, Poznań, Poland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.2 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-11-16


Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) are semi-domesticated animals adapted to the challenging conditions of northern Eurasia. Adipose tissues play a crucial role in northern animals by altering gene expression in their tissues to regulate energy homoeostasis and thermogenic activity. Here, we perform transcriptome profiling by RNA sequencing of adipose tissues from three different anatomical depots: metacarpal (bone marrow), perirenal, and prescapular fat in Finnish and Even reindeer (in Sakha) during spring and winter. A total of 16,212 genes are expressed in our data. Gene expression profiles in metacarpal tissue are distinct from perirenal and prescapular adipose tissues. Notably, metacarpal adipose tissue appears to have a significant role in the regulation of the energy metabolism of reindeer in spring when their nutritional condition is poor after winter. During spring, genes associated with the immune system are upregulated in the perirenal and prescapular adipose tissue. Blood and tissue parameters reflecting general physiological and metabolic status show less seasonal variation in Even reindeer than in Finnish reindeer. This study identifies candidate genes potentially involved in immune response, fat deposition, and energy metabolism and provides new information on the mechanisms by which reindeer adapt to harsh arctic conditions.

see all

Series: Communications biology
ISSN: 2399-3642
ISSN-E: 2399-3642
ISSN-L: 2399-3642
Volume: 4
Issue: 1
Article number: 1170
DOI: 10.1038/s42003-021-02703-z
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3111 Biomedicine
Funding: This study was funded by the Academy of Finland in the Arctic Research Programme ARKTIKO (decision number 286040).
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2021. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit