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Gen Comp Endocrinol. 1990 Jun;78(3):421-32.

Prolactin cell activity and sodium balance in the acid-tolerant mudminnow Umbra pygmaea in acid and neutral water.

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Department of Animal Physiology, Faculty of Science, University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


In East-American mudminnows, obtained from lakes and bogs of different water pH levels, prolactin cell size and ultrastructure reflect higher secretory activity in neutral water than in water of pH 3.5-6.5. This contrasts with observations on other species in which prolactin cell activity is higher at low water pH. Laboratory experiments involving acute exposure of mudminnows from pH 5.5 for 48 hr to different pH levels showed that prolactin secretion increased in water below pH 3 and above pH 6.5, which could be correlated with losses of blood electrolytes. No osmoregulatory stress was noticeable in the pH range of 3.5 to 5.5. Acclimation of fish for 5 to 6 months to either pH 4.5 or 7.2 confirmed that prolactin cell activity, as estimated with ultrastructural morphometry, was significantly higher in water of neutral pH than of pH 4.5. The growth rate was significantly higher at the lower pH. Determination of whole body sodium fluxes, with 24Na as a tracer, showed that both groups had a positive sodium balance. However, total body Na+ influx as well as efflux values were slightly but significantly reduced at pH 7.0 when compared to pH 4.5. The reduction of Na+ efflux at pH 7.0 is in line with increased secretion of prolactin since this hormone is known to limit the branchial permeability to water and ions, including Na+. The results show that the mudminnow is extremely acid tolerant, having an optimum water pH range of about 3.5 to 6.0, which is consistent with ecological observations. Prolactin secretion is at a minimum in this range. Exposure to neutral water represents osmoregulatory stress for the mudminnow, in contrast to all other teleost species examined so far.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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