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Brain Behav Evol. 2000 Nov;56(5):259-68.

Differential stress coping in wild and domesticated sea trout.

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  • 1Department of Comparative Physiology, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.


Offspring of wild and sea-ranched (domesticated) sea trout (Salmo trutta) originating from the same river, were reared under identical hatchery conditions from the time of fertilization. At one year of age individual fish were exposed to two standardized stressors; transfer to a novel environment, with or without a simultaneous predator exposure. Blood plasma concentrations of glucose and cortisol were analyzed along with brain levels of dopamine (DA), 3,4-hydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC, a major DA metabolite), serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT), and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5 HIAA, a major 5-HT metabolite). Transfer to a novel environment, alone as well as in combination with predator exposure, resulted in elevated plasma concentrations of glucose and cortisol. Moreover, exposure to these stressors resulted in elevated brain levels of 5-HT and 5-HIAA, as well as elevated brain 5-HIAA/5-HT and DOPAC/DA ratios. Wild trout displayed significantly higher post stress plasma glucose levels than domesticated fish. Similarly, following stress, brain 5-HIAA/5-HT and DOPAC/DA ratios were significantly higher in wild than in domesticated fish. These differences were not caused by differences in brain levels of 5-HIAA and DOPAC, but instead by differences in brain 5-HT and DA concentrations. These results suggest that domestication results in attenuated stress responses in trout, and that alterations in brain monoamine neurotransmission are part of this effect.

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