The effect of age and exercise on chicken gastrocnemius tendon
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The effect of age and exercise on the size of collagen fibrils of the chicken gastrocnemius tendon was studied. Broiler female chickens were randomly assigned to control or runner groups. Runners were subjected to a moderate treadmill walking program for 3 weeks, 5 days a week at 50% of their maximum capacity. Chickens were killed at the age of 1-day, 1-week, 2.5 weeks (1 week of preconditioning exercise), 5 weeks (1.5 weeks of full exercise), and 6.5 weeks (3 weeks of full exercise). Immunohistochemistry method was performed to see the change in the amount of decorin in tendon. TEM and SEM were used to measure the average diameter and cross-sectional area of collagen fibrils. The exercise program relatively increased the amount of decorin in tendon. The average diameter and the cross-sectional area of collagen fibrils increased significantly with age and as an effect of exercise. These results suggest that moderate exercise cause greater decorin synthesis in growing chickens, as well as rapid growth and fusion of collagen fibrils.