Acta Vet. Brno 2010, 79: 169-176

New Insights into Muscle Fibre Types in Casertana Pig

Salvatore Velotto, Claudia Vitale, Tommaso Stasi, Antonio Crasto

Department of Soil, Plant, Environmental and Animal Production Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture Via Università, University of Study of Naples Federico II, Portici, Italy

Received June 16, 2009
Accepted October 21, 2009

Little is known about the Casertana pig. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of sex on histochemical and morphometrical characteristics of muscle fibres (myocytes) in this pure breed and to verify the presence of giant fibres as well as vascularity of the muscle. Finally, maximum shortening velocity and isometric tension were measured in single muscle fibres. Sixteen Casertana pigs (8 males, 8 females) from a farm in Campania (Italy) were slaughtered at one year of age. Muscle tissues were obtained from psoas minor, rhomboideus and longissimus dorsi. Myofibres were stained for myosin adenosine triphosphatase, succinic dehydrogenase, and α-amylase-periodic acid schiff. For all fibre types, the area and perimeter were measured. Slowtwitch oxidative fibres, fast-twitch glycolytic fibres and fast-twitch oxidative-glycolytic fibres were histochemically differentiated; an image-analyzing system was used. The results showed significant differences between the sexes in the size of all three fibre types. The psoas minor muscle had a high percentage of slow-twitch oxidative fibres and contained more capillaries per fibre and per mm2 than rhomboideus and longissimus dorsi, in which fast-twitch glycolytic fibres dominated. The cross-sectional area of all fibre types was larger in longissimus dorsi than in rhomboideus and psoas minor muscles; the giant fibres were present in the longissimus dorsi muscle only. Besides, isometric tension values were higher in fast-twitch glycolytic fibres than in the other ones. Variations in fibre type composition may contribute to meat quality.