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Gen Comp Endocrinol. 1990 Jul;79(1):1-11.

The role of cortisol and growth hormone in seawater adaptation and development of hypoosmoregulatory mechanisms in sea trout parr (Salmo trutta trutta).

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Institute of Biology, Odense University, Denmark.


The role of growth hormone (GH) and cortisol in the development of hypoosmoregulatory mechanisms in sea trout parr, Salmo trutta trutta, was investigated by injecting freshwater (FW) yearlings every second day with saline, ovine growth hormone (oGH, 2.0 micrograms/g), cortisol (hydrocortisone hemisuccinate, 8.0 micrograms/g), or oGH + cortisol for a maximum of 14 days. Subgroups of the treated fish were transferred to three-fourths seawater (SW) after 7 or 15 days of treatment and the effects on plasma Na+, Cl-, muscle water content, gill Na+/K(+)-ATPase activity, and gill interlamellar chloride cell density were examined. In FW, gill Na+/K(+)-ATPase chloride cell density, and chloride cell apical to basal length increased by all hormone treatments, most significant by oGH + cortisol treatment. Plasma ions and muscle water content were unaffected in FW. Both SW transfers resulted in considerable mortality (50%) in control fish, whereas few cortisol-treated and no GH-treated or GH + cortisol-treated fish died. Plasma Na+ and Cl- levels increased dramatically (greater than 50%) in control fish and muscle water content decreased (8%) on Day 2 after both transfers. All hormone-treated groups regulated plasma ions and muscle water significantly better than controls in SW, indicating the physiological significance of the treatment. Notably, the oGH + cortisol-treated fish showed only insignificant changes in ion-osmotic homeostasis after SW transfer, suggesting a synergistic effect of the two hormones. It is concluded that treatment with the two hormones increases the salinity tolerance of sea trout parr at a developmental stage where FW life is obligatory.

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