Anatomy and Embryology

, Volume 182, Issue 1, pp 1–10 | Cite as

Hyperplastic and hypertrophic growth of lateral muscle in Dicentrarchus labrax (L.)

An ultrastructural and morphometric study
  • A. Veggetti
  • F. Mascarello
  • P. A. Scapolo
  • A. Rowlerson


In this EM study of lateral muscle in Dicentrarchus labrax, we observed that during the larval period, growth of the presumptive red and white muscle layers occurs both by hypertrophy (as fibres already present at hatching complete their maturation) and by production of new fibres in germinal zones specific to the two muscle layers.

In the first half of larval life the presumptive white muscle increases in thickness by the addition, superficially, of new fibres derived from a germinal zone of presumptive myoblasts lying beneath the red muscle layer. In the second half of larval life new fibres produced in this same zone form the intermediate (or pink) muscle layer. Dorsoventrally the myotome grows throughout larval life, largely by addition of new fibres from germinal zones at the hypo- and epi-axial extremities. Towards the end of larval life all these germinal zones are becoming exhausted, but another source of fibres arises as satellite cells, associated with large-diameter presumptive white muscle fibres, are activated to produce new fibres. The addition of small, new fibres gives the white muscle its mosaic appearance.

Morphometric analysis of fibre diameters in the white muscle confirms that whereas these hyperplastic processes are important during the larval and juvenile periods, when growth is very rapid, they have ceased by the time the adult stage is attained. By contrast, fibre hypertrophy continues through into adult life.

The presumptive red muscle consists initially of a monolayer of fibres present only near the lateral line, and during larval life it grows hypo- and epi-axially by addition of fibres derived from myoblasts already present in these areas at hatching. Lying superficially to the presumptive red muscle monolayer there is a near-continuous layer of external cells with a “flattened” profile. During the second half of larval life, differentiation of these external cells into myoblasts provides the source of new fibres which are added to the red muscle layer. This process, which occurs initially in the region around the lateral line and later spreads outwards, is responsible for the increase in thickness of the red muscle.

Key words

Fish Muscle growth Hyperplasia Hypertrophy Ultrastructure 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Veggetti
    • 1
  • F. Mascarello
    • 2
  • P. A. Scapolo
    • 1
  • A. Rowlerson
    • 3
  1. 1.Istituto di Anatomia degli Animali Domestici con Istologia ed EmbriologiaUniversitá di BolognaBolognaItaly
  2. 2.Istituto di Anatomia degli Animali Domestici con Istologia ed EmbriologiaUniversità di MilanoMilanoItaly
  3. 3.Department of PhysiologyU.M.D.S.St. Thomas's HospitalLondonUK

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