Retinoid requirements in the reproduction of zebrafish
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This study examines whether retinoids are essential in the reproduction of zebrafish. Using RT-PCR, it was shown that the ovaries and testes express enzymes that synthesize and metabolize the hormone retinoic acid (RA) (raldh2 and cyp26a, respectively), and RA receptors (raraa, rarga, rxrba, rxrbb, rxrga but not rxrab). Three new isoforms of rxrba were also observed in a variety of tissues. In other experiments, zebrafish were exposed for 11 d to diethylaminobenzaldehyde (DEAB), an inhibitor of RA synthesis, or fed a retinoid deficient diet for 130 d in order to evaluate the functional requirements of retinoids in reproduction. DEAB altered cyp26a transcript numbers in the gonads, suggesting an impact on RA, and decreased the number of spawned eggs by 95%. The retinoid deficient diet decreased whole body retinoids (retinol and retinal) by 68% in females and 33% in males. Females fed the retinoid deficient diet also produced 73% fewer eggs that contained 78% less retinal than controls. Fertilization rates were not affected. These studies have shown that the RA receptors are expressed in zebrafish gonads, and RA is required for the spawning of eggs. Dietary retinoid content influences reproduction, while retinyl ester storage levels appear to be of little significance. Females were more susceptible to retinoid perturbation than males, likely due to the cost of retinal deposition in the eggs. Overall, these studies have shown retinoids play a fundamental role in the reproduction of zebrafish, and the lack of retinyl ester stores in controls that successfully spawned illustrates that we have only a limited understanding of the retinoid physiology and requirements of fish.
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