Pathological changes associated with white striping in broiler breast muscles



White striping is a condition in broiler chickens characterized grossly by the occurrence of white striations, seen parallel to the direction of muscle fibers, on broiler breast fillets and thighs. Based on visual evaluation of the intensity of white striping, breast fillets can be categorized into normal (NORM), moderate (MOD), and severe (SEV) categories. This study was undertaken to evaluate the details of changes in histology as well as proximate composition occurring in the fillets with respect to the 3 degrees of white striping. In experiment 1, Rep.resentative breast fillets for each degree of white striping (n = 20) were collected from 45-d-old broilers, approximately 2 h postmortem. From each fillet, 2 skeletal muscle samples were obtained and fixed in 10% neutral buffered formalin. To identify and differentiate the histological changes, slides were pRep.ared and stained using hematoxylin and eosin, Masson’s Trichrome, and Oil Red O stains. In experiment 2, samples with 3 degrees of white striping were collected from 57-d-old birds for conducting proximate analysis. Major histopathological changes observed in the MOD and SEV samples consisted of loss of cross striations, variability in fiber size, floccular/ vacuolar degeneration and lysis of fibers, mild mineralization, occasional regeneration (nuclear rowing and multinucleated cells), mononuclear cell infiltration, lipidosis, and interstitial inflammation and fibrosis. Microscopic lesions were visually scored for degeneration and necrosis, fibrosis, and lipidosis. The scale used to score the samples ranged from 0 (normal) to 3 (severe). There was an increase (P < 0.05) in mean scores for degenerative or necrotic lesions, fibrosis, and lipidosis as the degree of white striping increased from NORM to SEV. The results from the histopathological study were supported by the findings from proximate analysis confirming that the fat and protein contents of muscle increased (P < 0.05) and decreased (P < 0.05), respectively, as the degree of white striping increased. In conclusion, the histopathological changes occurring in white striping indicate a degenerative myopathy that could be associated with increased growth rate in birds.