Comparative Quantitative Studies on the Microvasculature of the Heart of a Highly Selected Meat-Type and a Wild-Type Turkey Line

PloS One
Salah Al MasriH Hünigen


In this study the macroscopic and microscopic structure of the heart of a fast growing, meat-type turkey line (British United turkeys BUT Big 6) and a wild-type turkey line (Canadian Wild turkey) were compared. At 8 and 16 weeks of age, 10 birds of each genotype and sex were sampled. The body mass and heart mass of the meat-type turkey both increased at a faster rate than those of the wild-type turkey. However in both turkey lines, the relative heart mass decreased slightly with age, the decrease was statistically significant only in the male turkeys. Furthermore meat-type turkeys had a significantly (p < 0.01) lower relative heart mass and relative thickness of the left ventricle compared to the wild-type turkeys of the same age. The wild-type turkeys showed no significant change in the size of cardiomyocytes (cross sectional area and diameter) from 8 weeks to 16 weeks. In contrast, the size of cardiomyocytes increased significantly (p < 0.001) with age in the meat-type turkeys. The number of capillaries in the left ventricular wall increased significantly (p < 0.001) in wild-type turkeys from 2351 per mm2 at the age of 8 weeks to 2843 per mm2 at 16 weeks. However, in the meat-type turkeys there were no significant changes, ca...Continue Reading


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