Effects of LH-RH and des-gly10[D-Ala6]LH-RH-ethylamide on plasma sex steroid profiles in adult female coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch)
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17 beta-Estradiol, testosterone, and 17 alpha, 20 beta dihydroxy-4-pregnen-3-one (17 alpha 20 beta P) levels were measured in plasma samples obtained from coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) during the preovulatory period and following the injection of mammalian gonadotropin releasing hormones. Spontaneous reproductive activity was characterized by a rapid decline in plasma 17 beta-estradiol 10 days prior to ovulation and a large increase in plasma 17 alpha 20 beta P 6 days before ovulation. Testosterone levels remained high (greater than 125 ng/ml) throughout the preovulatory period, with a small peak evident 6 days prior to ovulation. Oocyte development was not accelerated in fish injected with mammalian LH-RH, whereas des-Gly10[D-Ala6]LH-RH-ethylamide (LH-RHA DAla6) promoted germinal vesicle breakdown (GVBD) in 10 out of 14 fish within 96 hr. Only LH-RHA DAla6-injected fish which completed GVBD displayed the characteristic steroid changes observed during spontaneous reproductive activity. In LH-RH-injected fish, there was a transient increase in plasma 17 alpha 20 beta P levels which persisted for less than 24 hr. LH-RHA DAla6-injected fish which failed to complete GVBD maintained high 17 alpha 20 beta P levels, but the peak concentrations were lower than those in fish which completed GVBD. These fish also maintained high plasma 17 beta-estradiol levels when compared to fish which completed GVBD. The appearance of high plasma 17 alpha 20 beta P levels during spontaneous and LH-RHA DAla6-induced reproductive activity was coincident with the time of GVBD. This finding was consistent with the view that 17 alpha 20 beta P functions as the maturation-inducing steroid in salmonids. The induction of GVBD using gonadotropin-releasing hormones was related to the elevation of plasma gonadotropin levels for greater than 24 hr [G. Van Der Kraak, H. R. Lin, E. M. Donaldson, H. M. Dye, and G. A. Hunter (1983) Gen. Comp. Endocrinol. 49, 470-476] and a decrease in 17 beta-estradiol production.
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