Journal of comparative physiology

, Volume 124, Issue 2, pp 111–116 | Cite as

Temperature induced variation in the distribution of different types of muscle fibre in the goldfish (Carassius auratus)

  • Ian Johnston
  • Margaret Lucking


Goldfish (Carassius auratus L.) were acclimated to environmental temperatures of 3 °C, 18 °C and 31 °C for a period of three months. Cytochemical techniques were used to study the metabolism and myofibrillar ATPase activities of individual muscle fibres. Fish muscle is composed of three basic fibre types each with distinct contractile and metabolic characteristics. Cold acclimation resulted in a shift to a more aerobic type of metabolism, particularly in the red and pink fibres. In addition, environmental temperature was found to affect the size and relative distribution of the different fibre types in the myotome. The total number of pink and red fibres increased significantly with cold acclimation. Mechanisms of environmentally-induced adaptation of muscle fibre phenotype are discussed.

In addition to changes in the metabolism and distribution of muscle-fibre types, biochemical studies have provided evidence for different kinetic forms of Mg2+Ca2+ myofibrillar ATPase at different environmental temperatures. Activities of myofibrillar ATPase assayed at 31 °C were 2–3 times higher in fish acclimated to the higher environmental temperature. Activation enthalpy (ΔH) of the ATPase was also signficantly reduced in the cold adapted enzyme. Reduction of ΔH in the cold acclimated ATPase is thought to reduce the temperature sensitivity of the activation process thus partly compensating for the reduced cell temperature.


Environmental Temperature Fibre Type Cold Acclimation Fish Muscle Activation Enthalpy 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian Johnston
    • 1
  • Margaret Lucking
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhysiologyUniversity of St. AndrewsSt. AndrewsScotland

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