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Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2010 Aug;299(2):R486-99. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.00109.2010. Epub 2010 May 5.

Saving energy to fuel exercise: swimming suppresses oocyte development and downregulates ovarian transcriptomic response of rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss.

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Dept. de Fisiologia, Facultat de Biologia, Universitat de Barcelona and Institut de Biomedicina de la Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona 08028, Spain.


Metabolic processes and sexual maturation closely interact during the long-distance reproductive migration of many fish species to their spawning grounds. In the present study, we have used exercise experimentally to investigate the effects on sexual maturation in rainbow trout. Pubertal autumn-spawning seawater-raised female rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss (n = 26; 50 cm, 1.5 kg) were rested or swum at a near optimal speed of 0.75 body lengths per second in a 6,000-liter swim flume under natural reproductive conditions (16 degrees C fresh-water, starvation, 8:16-h light-dark photoperiod). Fish were sampled after arrival and subsequently after 10 days (resting or swimming 307 km) and 20 days (resting or swimming 636 km). Ovarian development was significantly reduced in the swimmers. Analysis of the expression of key factors in the reproductive axis included pituitary kiss1-receptor, lh, and fsh and ovarian lh-receptor, fsh-receptor, aromatase, and vitellogenin-receptor (vtgr). Swimmers had lower pituitary lh and ovarian vtgr expression than resters. Furthermore, the number of late vitellogenic oocytes was lower in swimmers than in resters, probably resulting from the lower vtgr expression, and vitellogenin plasma levels were higher. Therefore, swimming exercise suppresses oocyte development possibly by inhibiting vitellogenin uptake. Transcriptomic changes that occurred in the ovary of exercised fish were investigated using a salmonid cDNA microarray platform. Protein biosynthesis and energy provision were among the 16 functional categories that were all downregulated in the ovary. Downregulation of the transcriptomic response in the ovary illustrates the priority of energy reallocation and will save energy to fuel exercise. A swimming-induced ovarian developmental suppression at the start of vitellogenesis during long-term reproductive migration may be a strategy to avoid precocious muscle atrophy.

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