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Advances in research on the prenatal development of skeletal muscle in animals in relation to the quality of muscle-based food. I. Regulation of myogenesis and environmental impact

  • C. Rehfeldt (a1), M. F. W. Te Pas (a2), K. Wimmers (a1), J. M. Brameld (a3), P. M. Nissen (a4), C. Berri (a5), L. M. P. Valente (a6), D. M. Power (a7), B. Picard (a8), N. C. Stickland (a9) and N. Oksbjerg (a4)...


Skeletal muscle development in vertebrates – also termed myogenesis – is a highly integrated process. Evidence to date indicates that the processes are very similar across mammals, poultry and fish, although the timings of the various steps differ considerably. Myogenesis is regulated by the myogenic regulatory factors and consists of two to three distinct phases when different fibre populations appear. The critical times when myogenesis is prone to hormonal or environmental influences depend largely on the developmental stage. One of the main mechanisms for both genetic and environmental effects on muscle fibre development is via the direct action of the growth hormone–insulin-like growth factor (GH–IGF) axis. In mammals and poultry, postnatal growth and function of muscles relate mainly to the hypertrophy of the fibres formed during myogenesis and to their fibre-type composition in terms of metabolic and contractile properties, whereas in fish hyperplasia still plays a major role. Candidate genes that are important in skeletal muscle development, for instance, encode for IGFs and IGF-binding proteins, myosin heavy chain isoforms, troponin T, myosin light chain and others have been identified. In mammals, nutritional supply in utero affects myogenesis and the GH–IGF axis may have an indirect action through the partitioning of nutrients towards the gravid uterus. Impaired myogenesis resulting in low skeletal myofibre numbers is considered one of the main reasons for negative long-term consequences of intrauterine growth retardation. Severe undernutrition in utero due to natural variation in litter or twin-bearing species or insufficient maternal nutrient supply may impair myogenesis and adversely affect carcass quality later in terms of reduced lean and increased fat deposition in the progeny. On the other hand, increases in maternal feed intake above standard requirement seem to have no beneficial effects on the growth of the progeny with myogenesis not or only slightly affected. Initial studies on low and high maternal protein feeding are published. Although there are only a few studies, first results also reveal an influence of nutrition on skeletal muscle development in fish and poultry. Finally, environmental temperature has been identified as a critical factor for growth and development of skeletal muscle in both fish and poultry.


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Advances in research on the prenatal development of skeletal muscle in animals in relation to the quality of muscle-based food. I. Regulation of myogenesis and environmental impact

  • C. Rehfeldt (a1), M. F. W. Te Pas (a2), K. Wimmers (a1), J. M. Brameld (a3), P. M. Nissen (a4), C. Berri (a5), L. M. P. Valente (a6), D. M. Power (a7), B. Picard (a8), N. C. Stickland (a9) and N. Oksbjerg (a4)...


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