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Gen Comp Endocrinol. 2010 May 1;166(3):513-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ygcen.2010.01.001. Epub 2010 Jan 11.

Dopaminergic activity in the brain of a tropical wrasse in response to changes in light and hydrostatic pressure.

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Department of Biology, Chemistry, and Marine Science, Faculty of Science, University of the Ryukyus. Senbaru 1, Nishihara, Okinawa 903-0213, Japan.


Many tropical wrasses show a daily pattern of spawning with gamete release typically near daytime high tide. The environmental cues the fish obtains from day-night and tidal cycles to ensure spawning synchrony and how those cues are transduced, however, are not fully understood. To gain insight into these issues, the involvement of monoamines in mediating endogenous day-night and tidal rhythms in the threespot wrasse, Halichoeres trimaculatus, were examined. Levels of dopamine (DA), 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC, a metabolite of DA), serotonin (5-HT), and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA, a metabolite of 5-HT) in the brain of the fish were measured with high-performance liquid chromatography and electrochemical detection. DOPAC and the metabolic rate of DA activity (DOPAC/DA) were found to increase during the day and decrease during the night for fish held under a natural photoperiod. Fish acclimated to a 12:12 light-dark cycle and to constant dark conditions exhibited similar changes, whereas fish acclimated to constant light conditions exhibited little or no change. Intraperitoneal injection of melatonin resulted in a significant reduction in DOPAC/DA. Furthermore, DOPAC/DA was significantly lower in fish held at 3m compared to 0m depth, suggesting that hydrostatic pressure influences DA metabolic rate. These results indicate that light and hydrostatic pressure control dopaminergic turnover in the brain of threespot wrasse. Day-night and tidal changes in these two factors therefore may be the main environmental cues the fish uses to synchronize its spawning activity.

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