Central pathways regulate metabolic responses to cold in endotherms to maintain relatively stable internal core body temperatures. However, peripheral muscles routinely experience temperatures lower than core body temperature, so that it would be advantageous for peripheral tissues to respond to temperature changes independently from core body temperature regulation. Early developmental conditions can influence offspring phenotypes, and here we tested whether developing muscle can compensate locally for the effects of cold exposure independently from central regulation. Muscle myotubes originate from undifferentiated myoblasts that are laid down during embryogenesis. We show that in a murine myoblast cell line (C2C12), cold exposure (32°C) increased myoblast metabolic flux compared to 37°C control conditions. Importantly, myotubes that differentiated at 32°C compensated for the thermodynamic effects of low temperature by increasing metabolic rates, ATP production, and glycolytic flux. Myotube responses were also modulated by the temperatures experienced by "parent" myoblasts. Myotubes that differentiated under cold exposure increased activity of the AMP-stimulated protein kinase (AMPK), which may mediate metabolic changes in response cold exposure. Moreover, cold exposure shifted myosin heavy chains from slow to fast, presumably to overcome slower contractile speeds resulting from low temperatures. Adjusting thermal sensitivities locally in peripheral tissues complements central thermoregulation, and permits animals to maintain function in cold environments. Muscle also plays a major metabolic role in adults, so that developmental responses to cold are likely to influence energy expenditure later in life.
- developmental plasticity
- Copyright © 2016, American Journal of Physiology - Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology