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Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol. 2008 Jan;149(1):92-7. Epub 2007 Nov 7.

High density and food deprivation affect arginine vasotocin, isotocin and melatonin in gilthead sea bream (Sparus auratus).

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Departamento de Biología, Facultad de Ciencias del Mar y Ambientales, Universidad de Cádiz, 11510 Puerto Real, Cádiz, Spain.


Arginine vasotocin (AVT) and isotocin (IT) levels in plasma and pituitary, and melatonin (MEL) levels in plasma were determined in gilthead sea bream (Sparus auratus) subjected to two different types of stress: i) high density (HD) and ii) food deprivation (NF: non-fed). Fishes were randomly assigned to one of 4 treatments that lasted for 14 days: 1) fed fish under normal low density (ND, 4 kg m(-3)); 2) non-fed (NF) fish under ND; 3) fed fish under high density (HD, 70 kg m(-3)); and 4) non-fed fish under HD. Ten fish from each tank were anaesthetized, weighed and plasma and pituitary samples were taken. Plasma and pituitary AVT and IT content were determined by HPLC, while plasma MEL was assayed by RIA. Plasma AVT and IT values were enhanced in all fish kept at high density. The response of AVT was much stronger than that of IT. The highest pituitary AVT and IT levels were shown in NF fish kept at normal density. The significantly higher plasma MEL levels were measured in fed fish kept at HD. These results suggest a role of AVT, IT and MEL in response of sea bream to a common stress factor, high density. Although food deprivation does not influence AVT and IT plasma levels, it seems to affect hypothalamic synthesis of nonapeptides. Further studies are required to elucidate the complex role of AVT, IT and MEL in the sea bream's response to different stress stimuli.

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