Muscle growth in response to changing demands of functions in the teleost Sparus aurata (L.) during development from hatching to juvenile
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Growth of laterarl muscle in the teleost fish Sparus aurata (L.) was examined from hatching to juvenile by a basic morphofunctional approach that takes into account structural and ecophysiological aspects and combines in vivo observations and LM and TEM microscopic analysis. As shown in most teleost fishes, muscle growth proceeds by a double mechanism of hyperplasia and hypertrophy that contribute differentially to the overall development of the lateral muscle, giving rise in each myomere to a typical pattern of structurally and functionally different fibre types (slow-red and fast-white fibres, plus pink intermediate fibres) in a nerve-dependent process. During larval life the muscle growth takes place mainly due to hyperplastic growth at the level of specific proliferative zones of the myomeres, from which slow, pink and white muscle fibres are derived. In those species that reach a large adult size a new typical hyperplastic process disseminated throughout the fast white muscle layer takes place during post-larval life. In contrast, hypertrophic growth occurs in all stages, but is the dominant mechanism of muscle growth only in juvenile and adult. The suitable recruitment of the different fibre types enables the fish to optimize its performances according to specific functional and metabolic requirements related to the swimming behaviour and hydrodynamic regimes. The different mechanisms of growth are here analysed in their detailed structural and ultrastructural aspects in order to interpret their adaptive significance in the light of the fish life cycle, with particular reference to locomotion and feeding behaviour.
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