Fish Physiology and Biochemistry

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 199–207 | Cite as

Thyroidal compensation in rainbow trout (Salmo gairdneri) fed canola meal

  • J. F. Leatherland
  • J. W. Hilton


Rainbow trout (Salmo gairdneri Richardson) were fed either a soybean mealbased (SM) or canola meal-based (CM) diet for up to 20 weeks. Plasma thyroxine (T4) and triiodothryonine (T3) levels were significantly lower in the CM-fed fish sampled after 12 weeks. However, there appeared to be some compensation after 12 and 20 weeks in that the thyroid hormone levels in trout fed the CM were not significantly different from those of the SM-fed fish. Nevertheless, there was marked thyroid hyperplasia and hypertrophy in the CM-fed fish sampled at 12, 16 and 20 weeks after commencement of the experiment. Moreover, the growth rate was significantly lower in the CM-fed fish in comparison to the SM-fed fish throughout the 20 week study period.

Plasma T4 levels were similar in SM-fed fish sampled 12, 16 and 20 weeks after commencement of the experiment, but plasma T3 levels progressively increased over this period, as did the apparent activity of the thyroid tissue based on histological criteria.

Fasting for up to 8 weeks resulted in the arrested growth of the SM-fed fish, and a loss in body weight of the CM-fed animals over the 8 week period of the fast. In addition, the plasma thyroid hormone levels in the fasted fish tended to be lower than in fish fed both the SM and CM diets prior to fasting, and there was histological evidence indicating a reduced activity of the pituitary-thyroid axis. However, thyroid hyperplasia and hypertrophy were still evident in the fasted fish previously fed the CM diet indicating that the adverse affects of CM diets are not completely reversible after 8 weeks.

In fish fed the CM diet for 12 weeks and then the SM diet for up to a further 8 weeks (diet C-S) there was a compensatory increase in plasma thyroid hormone levels evident within 4 weeks after the change in diet, but no apparent decrease in thyroid hyperplasia or hypertrophy. In addition, in the fish fed the C-S diet there was a marked compensatory growth rate, and an increased feed: gain ratio; body weights of this group of fish were not significantly different from those of the SM-fed animals after 20 weeks of study, indicating a considerably higher growth rate over the last 8 week period.


canola meal rainbow trout glucosinolates thyroid hormones growth thyroid histology adaptation compensatory growth 


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Copyright information

© Kugler Publication 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. F. Leatherland
    • 1
  • J. W. Hilton
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Zoology, College of Biological ScienceUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada
  2. 2.Department of Nutritional Sciences, College of Biological ScienceUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada

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