Collagen type IV (COL4) is one of the major components of animals' and humans' basement membranes of several tissues, such as skeletal muscles and vascular endothelia. Alterations in COL4 assembly and secretion are associated to muscular disorders in humans and animals among which growth-related abnormalities such as white striping and wooden breast affecting Pectoralis major muscles (PMs) in modern fast-growing (FG) chickens. Considering the high prevalence of these myopathies in FG broilers and that a worsening is observed as the bird slaughter age is increased, the present study was intended to evaluate the distribution and the expression level of COL4 protein and its coding genes in PMs of FG broilers at different stages of muscle development (i.e., 7, 14, 21, 28, 35, and 42 d of age). Medium-growing (MG) chickens have been considered as the control group in consideration of the lower selection pressure on breast muscle growth rate and...

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