Collagen content and architecture of the Iliotibialis lateralis muscle in male chicks and broilers with different growth rates fed on different nutritional planes.
Skeletal muscle is mainly composed of myofibers and intramuscular connective tissue. Bundles composed of many myofibers, with each myofiber sheathed in connective tissue called the endomysium, are packed in the perimysium, which occupies the vast bulk of the intramuscular connective tissue. The perimysium is a major determination factor for muscle texture. Some studies have reported that collagen peptide (Col-Pep) ingestion improves the connective tissue architecture, such as the tendon and dermis. The present study evaluated the effects of Col-Pep ingestion on the chicken iliotibialis lateralis (ITL) muscle. Chicks were allocated to three groups: the 0.15% or 0.3% Col-Pep groups and a control group. Col-Pep was administered by mixing in with commercial food. On day 49, the ITL muscles were analyzed by morphological observation and the textural property test. The width of the perimysium in the 0.3% Col-Pep group was significantly larger than other two groups. Although scanning electron microscopic observations did not reveal any differences in the architecture of the endomysium, elastic improvement of the ITL muscle was observed as suggested by an increase of the width of perimysium and improved rheological properties. Our results indicate that ingestion of Col-Pep improves the textural property of ITL muscle of chickens by changing structure of the perimysium.