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Physiol Behav. 2004 Feb;80(5):603-9.

Are sex steroids involved in the sexual growth dimorphism in Eurasian perch juveniles?

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Facultés Universitaires Notre-Dame de la Paix (FUNDP), Unité de Recherche en Biologie des Organismes, 61 Rue de Bruxelles, B-5000 Namur, Belgium.


Individual growth and food intake were monitored in Eurasian perch (Perca fluviatilis L.) juveniles (13.5+/-3.4 g initial body weight) to determine whether androgens and estrogens may mediate sex-related growth differences. Fish were individually tagged with chips and implanted with cocoa butter containing 20 microg of either 17alpha-methyltestosterone (MT) or 17beta-estradiol (E(2)) per gram of fish body; controls were implanted with cocoa butter without hormones. All fish were bled at the end of the experiment for measurement of E(2) in females and testosterone (T) in males (MT was not measured) and triiodothyronine (T3) in both genders. Survival, gonadosomatic index and hepatosomatic index were not affected by steroid treatments. Relative food intake (RFI), feed efficiency (FE) and specific growth rate (SGR) were higher in females than in males in all treatments. MT treatment significantly lowered RIF, FE and SGR in both sexes, while E(2) treatment showed no significant effect on growth and feeding parameters. In contrast to E(2) and T concentrations, T3 levels were significantly and positively correlated with SGR and RFI. The results provide evidence that MT may affect sexually related growth dimorphism by decreasing food intake and FE in Eurasian perch.

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