1. Growth changes of the collagen content and architecture in the pectoralis (PT) and iliotibialis lateralis (ITL) muscles were examined using cockerels from 1 to 14 weeks of age. 2. Total collagen content in PT muscle showed little change, but in ITL muscle reached a maximum at 5 weeks and thereafter decreased slightly until 14 weeks. The collagen content was markedly larger in ITL muscle after 5 weeks. Pyridinoline content of collagen increased abruptly from 5 to 14 weeks in both muscles, but no difference between muscle types was detected. 3. The cell size of the endomysial honeycombs increased with the development of myofibres, and the mesh size of the perimysium around the honeycombs enlarged. 4. In both muscles endomysia were an incomplete network of collagen fibrils with many foramina at one week, became a very thin membrane of felt-like fabric in 2 to 5 weeks and thereafter increased in thickness until 11 to 14 weeks. 5. Perimysial width around the secondary fasciculus differed between the muscle types after 5 weeks. In the wider perimysium of ITL muscle, the collagen fibres increased in number and size to make a stack of collagen bands around the fasciculus. In the narrower perimysium of PT muscle, a few platelets of collagen fibres also developed. 6. The perimysial collagen fibre at 1 to 2 weeks had a smooth surface and appeared to be composed of fine collagen fibrils. The fibre at 11 to 14 weeks showed a rugged surface and was composed of coarser collagen bundles that combined with each other into a net-like configuration with very slim meshes. 7. Our results showed that the collagenous components of chicken intramuscular connective tissue changed markedly during the early period of muscle growth in distribution, architecture and quality but with little difference in quantity.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Animal Science and Zoology