The characteristics of melanocyte distribution in skeletal muscles in the Silky fowl were investigated in association with growth. Pectoralis (PT) and iliotibialis lateralis (ITL) muscles from 1-, 3-, 5-, 10-, 20- and 30-week-old Silky males were weighed and collagen type I was detected in frozen sections immunohistochemically. Melanocytes were observed in the collagen type I-immunopositive endomysium and perimysium in both muscles. Image analysis indicated that the total area occupied by melanocytes in histological sections sharply decreased from 0.61% to 0.16% in PT muscle and from 1.67% to 0.33% in ITL muscle at 1 to 3 weeks, and then gradually decreased. The melanocyte area was larger in ITL muscle than in PT muscle until 10 weeks of age. We concluded that the proportion of intramuscular melanocytes in the Silky fowl differs between types of muscles in the early stages of development, and it decreases with growth.
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