Journal of Comparative Physiology B

, Volume 156, Issue 4, pp 469–479 | Cite as

The sequential mobilisation and restoration of energy reserves in tissues of Atlantic cod during starvation and refeeding

  • Darcey Black
  • R. Malcolm Love


  1. 1.

    In the early stages of starvation in cod (Gadus morhua L.), liver lipids and the glycogens of liver and white muscle were mobilised simultaneously, but liver lipids were exhausted first. At about that point, proteins began to be mobilised in red and white muscle, and red muscle glycogen also began to decrease. After about 20 weeks at 9°C, the latter was virtually exhausted, leaving muscle proteins as the only source of energy.

  2. 2.

    Starvation caused a significant fall in the glucose, lipids and nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA) of the blood. Ketone bodies seemed to be unimportant as sources of energy in starving cod, in contrast to elasmobranchs and mammals. Little change was observed in blood proteins or ninhydrin-positive substances.

  3. 3.

    When the cod were refed after starvation, overcompensation occurred in several metabolites, levels rising temporarily to values much higher than in continuously-fed controls. These comprised the glycogen contents of liver, red muscle and white muscle, NEFA in plasma and the RNA/DNA ratios of liver, red muscle and white muscle. Other constituents simply increased until their levels approached those of the controls. Liver lipids during refeeding did not rise above the low levels of starvation until the water content of the white muscle had dropped below about 82%.

  4. 4.

    When fish were refed after a shorter starvation period with squid muscle or herring muscle, only those refed with squid showed a significant rise in the muscle glycogen concentrations. Those fed on herring increased their liver lipids the more.

  5. 5.

    The differing periods of refeeding which gave rise to maximum values of red muscle glycogen and white muscle glycogen coincided respectively with maximum RNA/DNA ratios, suggesting that the purpose of unusually high glycogen values was to supply the energy for muscle regeneration.



Muscle Protein Ketone Body Muscle Glycogen Glycogen Content White Muscle 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



nonesterified fatty acids


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Darcey Black
    • 1
  • R. Malcolm Love
    • 1
  1. 1.Torry Research StationAberdeenScotland

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