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Gen Comp Endocrinol. 1988 Apr;70(1):158-63.

Thyroxine surge in metamorphosing flounder larvae.

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Inland Station, National Research Institute of Aquaculture, Mie, Japan.


The tissue concentration of thyroxine (T4) in larval flounder (Paralichthys olivaceus) was studied at various stages of their metamorphosis using a specific radioimmunoassay developed for samples obtained by quantitative extraction of the hormone from fish eggs and larvae. T4 concentrations were below the limit of detection in extracts of fertilized eggs and larvae until the end of prometamorphosis. Several dorsal fin rays continued growing from premetamorphosis until the end of prometamorphosis. The hormone became detectable at the onset of metamorphic climax when the elongated dorsal fin rays stopped growing. A sharp increase in tissue T4 concentration was observed in midclimax of metamorphosis, and the high level of T4 (11-13 ng/g body weight) was maintained until the end of the climax. The period of elevated T4 levels coincided with resorption of the elongated dorsal fin rays. The right eye completed translocation from the right to the left side of the body during metamorphic climax. The tissue T4 level declined to about a half of the peak value during postclimax, and then increased moderately in later adult-type juveniles. The results of an additional experiment, in which fertilized eggs and newly hatched larvae were treated with T4 and/or thiourea, suggested the presence of negative feedback regulation of pituitary-thyroid axis, implying an involvement of thyroid hormones even in early premetamorphic larvae. These results suggest that metamorphic climax is induced by a surge of thyroid hormone, and that thyroid hormone may also regulate development before and after the metamorphosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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