Fish endure long periods of fasting and demonstrate an extensive capacity for rapid and complete recovery after refeeding. The underlying mechanisms through which nutrient intake activates an increase in somatic growth and especially in muscle growth is poorly understood. In this study we examined the expression profile of major muscle growth regulators in trout white muscle 4, 12, and 34 days after refeeding, using real-time quantitative RT-PCR. Mean insulin-like growth factor I (IGFI) mRNA level in muscle increased dramatically 8- and 15-fold, 4 and 12 days, respectively, after refeeding compared to fasted trout. This declined thereafter. Conversely, only a weak but gradual increase in mean insulin-like growth factor II (IGFII) mRNA level was observed during refeeding. Inversely to IGFI, mean IGF receptor Ia (IGFRIa) mRNA level declined after ingestion of food. In contrast, IGF receptor Ib (IGFRIb) mRNA level was not affected by refeeding. Mean fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) mRNA level increased by 2.5-fold both 4 and 12 days after refeeding, whereas fibroblast growth factor 6 (FGF6) and myostatin mRNA levels were unchanged. Subsequent to IGFI and FGF2 gene activation, an increase in myogenin mRNA accumulation was observed at 12 days post-refeeding suggesting that an active differentiation of myogenic cells succeeds their proliferation. In conclusion, among the potential growth factors we examined in this study, IGFI and FGF2 were identified as candidate genes whose expression may contribute to muscle compensatory growth induced by refeeding.