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Central regulation of reproduction in teleosts

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Abstract

As in other vertebrates, reproduction in teleosts depends upon interactions taking place along the brain-pituitary-gonads axis. At the central level, these interactions involve at least three types of factors:

A gonadotrophin-releasing factor which has recently been isolated from chum salmon brain extracts. This decapeptide, whose structure is (Trp7-Leu8)-LHRH, appears to have a widespread distribution among teleosts, and is less active that LHRH or LHRH analogues in releasing gonadotrophin from the teleost pituitary. Immunohistochemical and quantitative studies have demonstrated that Gn-RH neurons are mainly located in the ventral telencephalon and the preoptic area, while projections are found in the entire brain and the pituitary gland.

A gonadotrophin release-inhibiting factor has been demonstrated in the anterior preoptic region of the goldfish and a large set of data suggests that dopamine has GRIF activity in goldfish, and in other teleost species, by direct action on the gonadotrophs. Accordingly, a dopaminergic preoptico-hypophyseal pathway could be demonstrated in the goldfish brain.

Sex steroids exert, depending on the dosages, either a negative feedback in sexually mature fish or a positive feedback in immature fish. Such a positive feedback is caused by estrogens and aromatizable androgens. Accordingly, the brain of teleosts contains high levels of aromatase activity in particular in the telencephalon and anterior hypothalamus. The distribution of estrogens concentrating cells within the brain is consistent with possible interactions with Gn-RH or catecholaminergic neurons at the level of certain brain territories.

These data are discussed in relation with the functional significance of different brain areas where interactions between these different factors possibly take place, in particular the terminal nerve, the ventral telencephalon, the preoptic area and nucleus lateralis tuberis.

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Kah, O. Central regulation of reproduction in teleosts. Fish Physiol Biochem 2, 25–34 (1986). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02264071

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Keywords

  • neuroendocrine control of reproduction
  • gonadotrophin-releasing hormone
  • dopamine
  • steroid feedback
  • sexual behavior
  • pituitary gland
  • teleost fishes