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Gen Comp Endocrinol. 2002 Oct 15;129(1):1-12.

11-Oxygenated androgens in female teleosts: prevalence, abundance, and life history implications.

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  • 1Department of Zoology, University of Otago, P.O. Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand. mark.lokman@stonebow.otago.ac.nz


Although 11-ketotestosterone (11-KT) has been found in blood of females of several diadromous fish species, the importance, abundance, and prevalence of this and related 11-oxygenated androgens in females have not been investigated. To address this issue and to determine whether the differences among androgen profiles relate to specific life history strategies, particularly diadromous migrations, fish (males and females) of around 30 species were sampled and 5 androgens were measured by radioimmunoassay. Levels of 17beta-estradiol and cortisol were also determined to evaluate ovarian and interrenal activity at the time of sampling. Testosterone (T) was the predominant androgen in most sexually recrudescent females. Only in female eel and sturgeon were 11-oxygenated androgens present in levels as high as, or higher than, those of T, although substantial amounts were also found in blood of mullet and salmonids. 11-KT was generally the most abundant 11-oxyandrogen, levels being higher than those of 11beta-hydroxytestosterone or 11beta-hydroxyandrostenedione. It is concluded that 11-oxygenated androgens are quantitatively minor steroids in most female fish. There was no convincing evidence to support the notion that the presence of 11-oxygenated androgens in blood is an adaptation specific to migratory fishes.

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