Endurance exercise differentially stimulates heart and axial muscle development in zebrafish (Danio rerio)

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Mechanical load is an important factor in the differentiation of cells and tissues. To investigate the effects of increased mechanical load on development of muscle and bone, zebrafish were subjected to endurance swim training for 6 h/day for 10 wk starting at 14 days after fertilization. During the first 3 wk of training, trained fish showed transiently increased growth compared with untrained (control) fish. Increased expression of proliferating cell nuclear antigen suggests that this growth is realized in part through increased cell proliferation. Red and white axial muscle fiber diameter was not affected. Total cross-sectional area of red fibers, however, was increased. An improvement in aerobic muscle performance was supported by an increase in myoglobin expression. At the end of 10 wk of training, heart and axial muscle showed increased expression of the muscle growth factor myogenin and proliferating cell nuclear antigen, but there were major differences between cardiac and axial muscle. In axial muscle, expression of the "slow" types of myosin and troponin C was increased, together with expression of erythropoietin and myoglobin, which enhance oxygen transport, indicating a shift toward a slow aerobic phenotype. In contrast, the heart muscle shifts to a faster phenotype but does not become more aerobic. This suggests that endurance training differentially affects heart and axial muscle
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R1040-R1048
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology. Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • rainbow-trout
  • teleost fish
  • oncorhynchus-mykiss
  • brachydanio-rerio
  • erythropoietin
  • fibers
  • growth
  • performance
  • expression
  • ontogeny


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