Evidence That the Inhibitory Effects of Stress on Reproduction in Teleost Fish Are Not Mediated by the Action of Cortisol on Ovarian Steroidogenesis
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Ovarian follicles of goldfish, common carp, and the sparid Pagrus auratus (New Zealand snapper) were incubated in vitro to assess the effects of cortisol (F) on ovarian steroidogenesis. Unstimulated goldfish follicles produced little testosterone (T) or 17 beta-estradiol (E2), whereas both carp and snapper follicles spontaneously produced E2 and to a lesser extent T. Goldfish follicles produced increased amounts of E2 in response to treatment with human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), whereas carp and snapper follicles did not. However, stimulation of carp follicles with maturational carp gonadotropin (cGTH-II) resulted in dose-dependent increases in production of E2. Treatment of follicles of all three species with T resulted in E2 production to levels as high as or higher than those following treatment with hCG or cGtH-II. Cotreatment of follicles with T and hCG or cGTH-II did not result in higher E2 production than treatment with T alone. Goldfish follicles treated with 25-hydroxycholesterol showed increases in E2 production that were similar to those occurring following treatment with T. Treatment of follicles with F at a range of doses up to 1 microgram.ml-1 had no inhibitory effect on T or E2 production in any treatment combination in any of the species examined. In several cases, follicles incubated with T and/or hCG produced more E2 in the presence of F than they did without F. The results suggest either that the observed inhibitory effects of stress in a range of teleost species are not mediated by F or that they arise higher in the endocrine pathway than at the level of ovarian steroidogenesis.
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