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The brain-pituitary-gonad axis in male teleosts, with special emphasis on flatfish (Pleuronectiformes).

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  • 1Institute of Marine Research, Austevoll Aquaculture Research Station, 5392 Storebø, Norway.


The key component regulating vertebrate puberty and sexual maturation is the endocrine system primarily effectuated along the brain-pituitary-gonad (BPG) axis. By far most investigations on the teleost BPG axis have been performed on salmonids, carps, catfish and eels. Accordingly, earlier reviews on the BPG axis in teleosts have focused on these species, and mainly on females (e.g. 'Fish Physiology, vol. IXA. Reproduction (1983) pp. 97'; 'Proceedings of the Fourth International Symposium on the Reproductive Physiology of Fish. FishSymp91, Sheffield, UK, 1991, pp. 2'; 'Curr. Top. Dev. Biol. 30 (1995) pp. 103'; 'Rev. Fish Biol. Fish. 7 (1997) pp. 173'; 'Proceedings of the Sixth International Symposium on the Reproductive Physiology of Fish. John Grieg A/S, Bergen, Norway, 2000, pp. 211'). However, in recent years new data have emerged on the BPG axis in flatfish, especially at the level of the brain and pituitary. The evolutionarily advanced flatfishes are important model species both from an evolutionary point of view and also because many are candidates for aquaculture. The scope of this paper is to review the present status on the male teleost BPG axis, with an emphasis on flatfish. In doing so, we will first discuss the present understanding of the individual constituents of the axis in the best studied teleost models, and thereafter discuss available data on flatfish. Of the three constituents of the BPG axis, we will focus especially on the pituitary and gonadotropins. In addition to reviewing recent information on flatfish, we present some entirely new information on the phylogeny and molecular structure of teleost gonadotropins.

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