Ultrastructural differences and histochemical characteristics in swimming muscles between wild and reared Atlantic salmon
The swimming capacity of wild and reared fish differs. Whether the differences are associated with metabolic, contractile or structural variation in swimming musculature is unknown. In the present study, some aspects of contractile machinery in swimming muscles of wild and reared salmon are compared. Methods:
Several morphological parameters and key enzyme activities were measured using electron microscopy and histochemical methods. Results:
The density and size of the mitochondria was significantly higher in the muscle samples from wild fish when compared with the reared ones. Similar variability was also seen in the density of triads. Conversely, the size and density of lipid droplets was significantly lower in the red muscle of wild vs. reared salmon. The densities of two excitation contraction coupling components, dihydropyridine and ryanodine receptor, were considerably higher in swimming muscles of wild salmon than in reared fish. A similar difference was observed in the activities of aerobic enzymes. Moreover, oxygen consumption followed the same pattern, being significantly higher in the samples of wild salmon. Phosphorylase activity was, on the other hand, significantly lower in the muscles of wild fish. Conclusions:
There are significant differences in morphology, Ca2+-regulating capacity and enzyme activities in swimming muscles between wild and reared salmon. These results provide evidence that the prerequisites for efficient contraction of the swimming muscles are better met in wild than in reared salmon. Importantly, the results also suggest that the observed variation is a major contributing factor to the difference in the swimming capacity between wild and hatchery-reared salmon.