2023 journal article
In ovo probiotic supplementation promotes muscle growth and development in broiler embryos
POULTRY SCIENCE, 102(7).
In chickens, muscle development during embryonic growth is predominantly by myofiber hyperplasia. Following hatch, muscle growth primarily occurs via hypertrophy of the existing myofibers. Since myofiber number is set at hatch, production of more muscle fibers during embryonic growth would provide a greater myofiber number at hatch and potential for posthatch muscle growth by hypertrophy. Therefore, to improve performance in broilers, this study investigated the effect of in ovo spray application of probiotics on overall morphometry and muscle development in broiler embryos. For the study, fertile Ross 308 eggs were sprayed with different probiotics; Lactobacillus paracasei DUP 13076 (LP) and L. rhamnosus NRRL B 442 (LR) prior to and during incubation. The embryos were sacrificed on d 7, 10, 14, and 18 for embryo morphometry and pectoralis major muscle (PMM) sampling. Muscle sections were stained and imaged to quantify muscle fiber density (MFD), myofiber cross-sectional area (CSA), and nuclei density. Additionally, gene expression assays were performed to elucidate the effect of probiotics on myogenic genes. In ovo probiotic supplementation was found to significantly improve embryo weight, breast weight, and leg weight (P < 0.05). Further, histological analysis of PMM revealed a significant increase in MFD and nuclei number in the probiotic-treated embryos when compared to the control (P < 0.05). In 18-day-old broiler embryos, myofibers in the treatment group had a significantly smaller CSA (LP: 95.27 ± 3.28 μm2, LR: 178.84 ± 15.1 μm2) when compared to the control (211.41 ± 15.67 μm2). This decrease in CSA was found to be associated with a concomitant increase in MFD (fibers/mm2) in the LP (13,647 ± 482.15) and LR (13,957 ± 463.13) group when compared to the control (7,680 ± 406.78). Additionally, this increase in myofibrillar hyperplasia in the treatment groups was associated with upregulation in the expression of key genes regulating muscle growth including MYF5, MYOD, MYOG, and IGF-1. In summary, in ovo spray application of probiotics promoted overall embryo growth and muscle development in broilers.