High-Temperature Stress Induces Autophagy in Rainbow Trout Skeletal Muscle

Alfredo Molina, Phillip Dettleff, Valentina Valenzuela-Muñoz, Cristian Gallardo-Escarate, Juan Antonio Valdés

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Ectothermic animals, such as teleosts, have increasingly been exposed to stressful high-temperature events due to global warming. Currently, the effects of thermal stress on skeletal muscle, a key tissue for fish growth, are unknown. This study examined the impact of high-temperature stress on the skeletal muscle transcriptome of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in control (15 °C) and high-temperature (20 °C) conditions. Additionally, we examined the plasmatic levels of cortisol, glucose, and creatine kinase activity, and examined oxidative damage and autophagy activation in skeletal muscle. High-temperature stress induced significant increases in cortisol and glucose plasmatic levels. Nevertheless, no changes were observed in creatine kinase activity in plasma and skeletal muscle oxidation. Skeletal muscle RNA was isolated and sequenced using the HiSeq Illumina platform. A total of 383,796,290 reads were mapped onto the reference rainbow trout genome. The transcriptomic analysis showed that 293 genes were upregulated in the high-temperature group, mainly associated with autophagosome assembly, amino acid transport, and the glutamine metabolic process. On the other hand, 119 genes were downregulated in the high-temperature group, mainly associated with digestion, proteolysis, and the muscle contraction process. In addition, RT-qPCR of differentially expressed representative genes and Western blot analysis of LC3-II/LC3-I levels confirmed skeletal muscle autophagy induced by high temperature. This study sheds light on intriguing facets of the adaptive response of rainbow trout skeletal muscle to high-temperature stress and provides significant insights into the physiology of autophagy in teleosts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number303
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • autophagy
  • cortisol
  • high-temperature stress
  • RNA-Seq
  • skeletal muscle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology


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