Author(s): Dulka JG, Sloley BD, Stacey NE, Peter RE, Dulka JG, Sloley BD, Stacey NE, Peter RE
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Abstract In goldfish, the gonadal steroid, 17 alpha,20 beta-dihydroxy-4-pregnen-3-one (17,20 beta-P), functions as a potent preovulatory female sex pheromone which stimulates rapid elevations in serum gonadotropin (GtH) levels and subsequent increases in milt production in males. GtH secretion in goldfish is known to be regulated by the stimulatory actions of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) and the inhibitory actions of dopamine (DA). This study specifically examined whether the 17,20 beta-P-induced elevation in male GtH is caused by pheromone-mediated changes in DA inhibition at the level of the pituitary. First, we have demonstrated that dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) is the primary metabolite of DA catabolism in the brain and pituitary gland of goldfish. Second, we measured changes in circulating levels of GtH and changes in pituitary content of DA and its metabolite, DOPAC, as well as possible alterations in DA turnover rate (DOPAC/DA ratio) following short-term exposure of male goldfish to water-borne 17,20 beta-P. Water-borne 17,20 beta-P consistently increased serum GtH levels in males within 20 min of exposure and maintained elevated levels for up to 120 min. Although changes in pituitary DA content were not observed during periods of high GtH release, coincident reductions in pituitary levels of DOPAC were measured within 45 min of exposure to the pheromone. More importantly, there was a significant decrease in the rate of DA turnover in the pituitary, as assessed by comparing the ratio of DOPAC to DA present, at 20, 45, and 120 min of exposure. Since the reduction of DA turnover in the pituitary is inversely correlated with periods of increased GtH release, the present results suggest that water-borne 17,20 beta-P causes an abatement of DA release to the pituitary. Based on the latency of the GtH response to water-borne 17,20 beta-P, a rapid reduction of DA turnover in the pituitary appears to be at least part of the neuroendocrine trigger for 17,20 beta-P-induced GtH release in male goldfish.
This article was published in Gen Comp Endocrinol
and referenced in Journal of Environmental & Analytical Toxicology