Larval programming of post-hatch muscle growth and activity in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar).
From fertilisation to hatching one group of salmon embryos was reared at ambient temperatures (fluctuating around 1.6° C) and another at 10° C. At Gorodilov stages 28, 30 and 33 transverse sections of whole embryos were obtained for light and electron microscopy. Total cross-sectional areas, fibre numbers, fibre diameters and myofibrillar areas of the white muscle of m. lateralis were measured. At hatching (stage 33, which occurred much earlier at the higher temperature), the higher temperature embryos had significantly larger (P< 0.01) but fewer (P< 0.05) muscle fibres. These larger fibres contained significantly more myofibrillar material (P< 0.05) than the smaller fibres of the lower temperature embryos. Lesser differences were found at pre-hatching stages. Higher temperatures caused myofibre hypertrophy to increase at a greater rate than hyperplasia. Hence, the cellularity of the tissue produced under the different temperature regimes was quite different.