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Elevation of plasma cortisol during the spawning migration of landlocked kokanee salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka kennerlyi).

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Department of Physiological Science, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1527, USA.


Kokanee salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka kennerlyi ), a landlocked subspecies of sockeye salmon, exhibited hypothalamic-pituitary interrenal (HPI, adrenal homologue) axis activation and an increase in plasma cortisol concentration up to 639 +/- 55.9 ng/ml in association with upstream migration in the upper Colorado River even though they were not exposed to a change in salinity and lengthy migration. Kokanee salmon were collected at various stages of migration and concomitant sexual maturation. The pattern of cortisol elevation in kokanee is similar to that in ocean-run sockeye salmon (O. nerka nerka). The presence of plasma cortisol elevation in an upstream migrating, landlocked Pacific salmon suggests that stressors previously considered to cause the cortisol increase, such as long-distance migration and changes in salinity, may not be primary causes of the HPI axis activation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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