Creatine (Cr) is an amino acid derivative with an important role in the cell as energy buffer that has been largely used as dietary supplement to increase muscle strength and lean body mass in healthy individuals and athletes. However, studies in fish are scarce. The aim of this work is to determine whether dietary Cr supplementation affects muscle growth in gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata) juveniles. Fish were fed ad libitum for 69 days with diets containing three increasing levels of creatine monohydrate (2, 5, and 8%) that were compared with a non-supplemented control (CTRL) diet. At the end of the trial, the fast-twist skeletal muscle growth dynamics (muscle cellularity) and the expression of muscle-related genes were evaluated. There was a general trend for Cr-fed fish to be larger and longer than those fed the CTRL, but no significant differences in daily growth index (DGI) were registered among dietary treatments. The dorsal cross-sectional muscle area (DMA) of fish fed Cr 5 and Cr 8% was significantly larger than that of fish fed CTRL. The groups supplemented with Cr systematically had a higher relative number of both small-sized (≤20 μm) and large-sized fibers (≥120 μm). Dorsal total fibers number was highest in fish fed 5% Cr. In fish supplemented with 5% Cr, the relative expression of myogenic differentiation 1 (myod1) increased almost four times compared to those fed the CTRL diet. The relative expression of calpain 3 (capn3) was highest in fish fed diets with 2% Cr supplementation, but did not differ significantly from those fed the CTRL or Cr 5%. The myod1 gene expression had a positive and significant correlation with that of capn1, capns1a, and capn3 expression. These results suggest that the observed modulation of gene expression was not enough to produce a significant alteration in muscle phenotype under the tested conditions, as a non-significant increase in muscle fiber diameter and higher total number of fiber was observed, but still resulted in increased DMA. Additional studies may be required in order to better clarify the effect of dietary Cr supplementation in fish, possibly in conjunction with induced resistance training.
- creatine supplementation
- muscle growth and differentiation
- myogenic differentiation 1 (myod1)
- myogenic regulatory factors (MRFs)