Refeeding, following a period of food deprivation will often lead to compensatory growth. Although many studies have focused on molecular mechanisms behind this accelerated growth response in fish, little is known on the roles of protein and metabolism. We also assessed, for the first time, the potential roles of miRNAs in regulating compensatory growth. Artcic charr, Salvelinus alpinus, a northern freshwater species, was deprived of food for 101 days and then fed to satiety for 126 days. The refeeding period resulted in compensatory growth, with a partial compensation of body mass. The feed deprivation period lead to a decrease in hepatosomatic index (HSI) and intestinal somatic index (ISI). HSI and ISI were then gradually replenished during early refeeding, following a lag phase prior to the compensatory growth response. mRNA transcripts regulating protein degradation via the autophagy pathway (Cathepsin D and Cathepsin L) in muscle were upregulated during feed restriction and downregulated after refeeding, which could allow for greater protein accretion in muscle, facilitating compensatory growth. Transcript levels from the ubiquitin proteasome pathway (Mafbx and Murf1) and the calpain system (Calpain 7 and Calpastatin) suggested that these pathways were not involved in regulating compensatory growth. Furthermore, we've shown that miRNAs (miR-29a and miR-223) could be involved in fish glycogen homeostasis during the early stages of refeeding. These findings provide a deeper understanding of the molecular mechanisms regulating growth in fish.
Keywords: Arctic charr; Compensatory growth; Fasting; Glucose metabolism; Protein metabolism; miRNAs.
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