Early posthatch thermal stress causes long-term adverse effects on pectoralis muscle development in broilers
. Poultry Science 2019
. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Broiler chicks in the immediate posthatch handling period are exposed to thermal stress, with potentially harmful consequences for muscle growth and structure (e.g., less protein and more fat deposition). We addressed the effects of broiler chicks' exposure to various ambient temperatures during the first 13 D posthatch on their performance, as well as on muscle development and structure, up to day 35. Body weight and pectoralis muscle growth were lower throughout the entire period in the high-heat-exposed chicks (39°C, Hot) and to a lesser extent in the mild-heat-exposed chicks (35°C, Hot Mild) than in the Control chicks that were raised under a commercial protocol. In the cold-exposed chicks (29oC, Cold), BW and pectoralis muscle absolute growth were similar to the Control group throughout the entire period. The lower body and muscle growth in the Hot and Hot Mild groups were reflected in a lower number of myonuclei expressing proliferating cell nuclear cell in pectoralis major muscle cross sections sampled on day 8, in the distribution of myofibers as the experiment progressed, and in mean myofiber diameter on day 35, whereas in the Cold group, these numbers exceeded that of the Control group. However, TUNEL assay revealed similar cell survival in all groups. Hematoxylin–eosin and Oil red O staining revealed the highest fat deposition in the pectoralis muscle derived from the Hot group, whereas lower fat deposition was observed in the Control Cold group. These results were corroborated by immunostaining for CCAAT/enhancer binding protein β in the pectoralis muscle, the levels of which were significantly higher in the Hot and Hot Mild groups on day 35 than in the Control group. Similar results were observed with Sirius red staining for collagen content in the pectoralis muscle. Together, the results imply long-term effects of chronic heat stress vs. cold stress in the early posthatch period on the broiler's body and muscle growth in general and myodegeneration of the pectoralis muscle in particular.