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Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol. 2010 Jan;155(1):56-63. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2009.09.019. Epub 2009 Sep 25.

Annual sex steroid and other physiological profiles of Pacific lampreys (Entosphenus tridentatus).

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US Geological Survey, Western Fisheries Research Center, Columbia River Research Laboratory, 5501 Cook-Underwood Road, Cook, Washington 98605, USA.


We documented changes in plasma levels of estradiol 17-beta (E2), progesterone (P), 15alpha-hydroxytestosterone (15alpha-T), thyroxine (T4), triiodothyronine (T3), protein, triglycerides (TGs), and glucose in adult Pacific lampreys (Entosphenus tridentatus) held in the laboratory in two different years. Levels of E2 in both sexes ranged from 0.5 to 2 ng/mL from September to March, peaked in late April (2-4 ng/mL), and decreased in May, with levels higher in males than in females. Levels of P were low from September through April, but then increased substantially during May (2-4 ng/mL), with levels again highest in males. Levels of 15alpha-T in males were around 0.75 ng/mL through the winter before exceeding 1 ng/mL in April and decreasing thereafter, whereas females showed a gradual increase from 0.25 ng/mL in November to 0.5 ng/mL in April before decreasing. Thyroxine concentrations differed between fish in each year, with most having levels ranging from 0.75 to 2.5 ng/mL in the fall and winter, and only fish in 2003 showing distinct peaks (3-4 ng/mL) in early April or May. Plasma T3 was undetectable from November through mid-March before surging dramatically in April (ca. 150 ng/mL) and decreasing thereafter. Levels of protein, TGs, and glucose decreased or were stable during the fall and winter with TGs and glucose surging in late April to early May for some fish. Our study is the first to document long-term physiological changes in Pacific lampreys during overwintering and sexual maturation and increases our understanding of the life history of this unique fish.

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