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Gen Comp Endocrinol. 2003 Jul;132(3):444-53.

Gonadotropin-releasing hormone neuronal development during the sensitive period of temperature sex determination in the pejerrey fish, Odontesthes bonariensis.

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  • 1Instituto de Investigaciones Biotecnológicas/Instituto Tecnológico de Chascomús, Camino de Circunvalacion Laguna, C.C. 164, (B7130IWA), Chascomús, Provincia de Buenos Aires, Argentina.


The development of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons was studied in relation to the sensitive period of thermolabile sex determination in the pejerrey Odontesthes bonariensis, an atherinid fish from South America. Fish were raised from hatching at three different temperatures: 17 degrees C (100% females), 24 degrees C (70% females), and 29 degrees C (100% males). Three groups of immunoreactive GnRH (ir-GnRH) neurons were identified at the terminal nerve ganglion (TNG), the midbrain tegmentum (MT), and the preoptic area (POA). Immunoreactive GnRH (ir-GnRH) neurons were identified in the TNG at hatching (day 0) and in the MT at day 3 at all the experimental temperatures. In the POA ir-GnRH neurons were identified in the nucleus preopticus periventricularis simultaneously with the first appearance of ir-GnRH fibers in the pituitary on days 11, 14, and 17 for larvae kept at 29, 24, and 17 degrees C, respectively. The number of ir-GnRH neurons in the TNG did not show any statistical difference between temperatures. The number of ir-GnRH neurons in the MT increased in number during the experiment for larvae kept at 17 and 24 degrees C but decreased between days 17 and 31 in larvae kept at 29 degrees C. The number of ir-GnRH neurons in the POA increased during development with a peak at day 28 for all temperatures studied and the magnitude of this peak showed a correlation with incubation temperature. These results reinforce the notion that the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonadal axis is active during sex determination in pejerrey suggesting a possible role of the central nervous system and GnRH in this process. It is also suggested that GnRH neurons located in the preoptic area might be the physiological transducers of temperature during the temperature sensitive period in this species.

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