Pflügers Archiv

, Volume 405, Issue 2, pp 136–140 | Cite as

Evolutionary adaptation of muscle power output to environmental temperature: force-velocity characteristics of skinned fibres isolated from antarctic, temperate and tropical marine fish

  • I. A. Johnston
  • J. D. Altringham
Excitable Tissues and Central Nervous Physiology


  1. 1.

    Single fast fibres were isolated from the myotomal muscles of icefish (Chaenocephalus aceratus Lönnberg, Antarctica), North Sea Cod (Gadus morhua L.) and Pacific Blue Marlin (Makaira nigricans Wakiya, Hawaii). Fibres were chemically skinned with the non-ionic detergent Brij-58.

  2. 2.

    Maximum tensions (Po, kN m−2) developed at the characteristic body temperature of each species are 231 for icefish (−1°C), 187 for cod (8°C) and 156 for marlin (20°C). At 0°CPo is 7 times higher for fibres from the icefish than from the marlin.

  3. 3.

    Fibres from icefish and cod failed to relax completely following activations at temperatures above approximately 12°C. The resultant post-contraction force is associated with a proportional increase in stiffness, suggesting the formation of a population of Ca-insensitive cross bridges.

  4. 4.

    At 0°C there is little interspecific variation in unloaded contraction velocity (Vmax) among the three species.Vmax (muscle lengths s−1) at normal body temperatures are 0.9 for icefish (−1°C), 1.0 for cod (8°C) and 3.4 for marlin (20°C).

  5. 5.

    The force-velocity (P-V) relationship becomes progressively more curved with increasing temperature for all three species.

  6. 6.

    Maximum power output for the fast muscle fibres from the Antarctic species at −1°C is around 60% of that of the tropical fish at 20°C. Evolutionary temperature compensation of muscle power output appears largely to involve differences in the ability of cross bridges to generate force.


Key words

Muscle Temperature Mechanics Forcevelocity Skinned fibres Antarctic fish 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. A. Johnston
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • J. D. Altringham
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PhysiologyUniversity of St. AndrewsScotland
  2. 2.British Antarctic SurveyNERCCambridgeUK
  3. 3.Pacific Gamefish Foundation Research LaboratoriesKailua-KonaUSA

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