Acta Vet. Brno 2007, 76: 163-170

Skeletal Myocyte Types and Vascularity in the Black Sicilian Pig

S. Velotto1, E. Varricchio2, M. R. Di Prisco1, T. Stasi1, A. Crasto1

1Dipartimento di Scienze del Suolo della Pianta, dell'Ambiente e delle Produzioni Animali, Facoltà di Agraria - Università degli Studi di Napoli "Federico II"
2Dipartimento di Scienze Biologiche ed Ambientali - Facoltà di Scienze MM.FF.NN. - Benevento Università degli Studi del Sannio

Received July 28, 2005
Accepted February 20, 2007

The objective of this study was to verify the presence of giant fibres in the Black Sicilian pig skeletal muscle and to evaluate the effect of sex on histochemical and morphometric characteristics of the myocytes (myofibres) as well as vascularity of the muscle. Twenty Black Sicilian pigs (10 males, 10 females) from a farm in Sicily (Italy) were slaughtered at two years of age. Muscle tissues were obtained from three muscles: psoas major, longissimus dorsi, and trapezius. Myofibres were stained for myosin ATPase, succinic dehydrogenase, and α-amylase-PAS. For all fibre types, area and perimeter were measured. Slow-twitch oxidative fibres, fast-twitch glycolytic fibres and fast-twitch oxidative-glycolytic fibres were histochemically differentiated; an image-analyzing system was used. The results showed no differences between males and females in percentage of the fibre types, but there were significant differences between sexes in size of all the three fibre types. Psoas major muscle had a high percentage of slow-twitch oxidative fibres and contained more capillaries per fibre and per mm2 than trapezius and longissimus dorsi, in which fast-twitch glycolytic fibres dominated. The cross-sectional area of all fibres types was larger in longissimus dorsi than in trapezius and psoas major muscles; the giant fibres were absent in all the muscles studied. Fibre type composition may contribute to the variation of meat quality.