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Vet Pathol. 2014 May;51(3):619-23. doi: 10.1177/0300985813497488. Epub 2013 Jul 26.

Myodegeneration with fibrosis and regeneration in the pectoralis major muscle of broilers.

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Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Helsinki, Helsinki PO Box 66, FI-00014, Finland. Email:


A myopathy affecting the pectoralis major muscle of the commercial broiler has emerged creating remarkable economic losses as well as a potential welfare problem of the birds. We here describe the macroscopic and histologic lesions of this myopathy within 10 pectoralis major muscles of 5- to 6-week-old broilers in Finland. Following macroscopic evaluation and palpation of the muscles, a tissue sample of each was fixed in formalin, processed for histology, and histologically evaluated. The muscles that were macroscopically hard, outbulging, pale, and often accompanied with white striping histologically exhibited moderate to severe polyphasic myodegeneration with regeneration as well as a variable amount of interstitial connective tissue accumulation or fibrosis. All affected cases also exhibited perivenular lymphocyte accumulation. The etiology of this myodegenerative lesion remains yet open. Polyphasic myodegeneration is associated with several previously known etiologies, but palpatory hardness focusing on the pectoralis major, together with perivenular lymphocytes, has not been described in relation to them. The results of this study provide the pathological basis for further studies concerning the etiology of the currently described myopathy.


broiler; chicken; myodegeneration; myopathy; pectoralis major; wooden breast

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