Skeletal muscle is distinguished from other tissues on the basis of its shape, biochemistry, and physiological function. Based on mammalian studies, fiber size, fiber types, and gene expression profiles are regulated, in part, by the electrical activity exerted by the nervous system. To address whether similar adaptations to changes in electrical activity in skeletal muscle occur in teleosts, we studied these phenotypic properties of ventral muscle in the electric fish Sternopygus macrurus following 2 and 5 days of electrical inactivation by spinal transection. Our data show that morphological and biochemical properties of skeletal muscle remained largely unchanged after these treatments. Specifically, the distribution of type I and type II muscle fibers and the cross-sectional areas of these fiber types observed in control fish remained unaltered after each spinal transection survival period. This response to electrical inactivation was generally reflected at the transcript level in real-time PCR and RNA-seq data by showing little effect on the transcript levels of genes associated with muscle fiber type differentiation and plasticity, the sarcomere complex, and pathways implicated in the regulation of muscle fiber size. Data from this first study characterizing the acute influence of neural activity on muscle mass and sarcomere gene expression in a teleost are discussed in the context of comparative studies in mammalian model systems and vertebrate species from different lineages.
- skeletal muscle atrophy
- fiber types in teleost fish
- spinal cord transection
- muscle inactivation
- muscle transcriptome
- Copyright © 2016 the American Physiological Society
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