Influence of Environmental Salinity on Messenger RNA Levels of Growth Hormone, Prolactin, and Somatolactin in Pituitary of the Channel Catfish (Ictalurus punctatus)
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Pituitary growth hormone (GH), prolactin (PRL), and somatolactin (SL) messenger RNA levels in channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) were examined under various environmental and physiological conditions. Catfish were sampled following salinity challenge, during the winter (December) and spring or summer (April or July), and at different sizes (15–18 g, 620–664 g, and 956–1134 g). When catfish (956–1134 g) were transferred from freshwater to saline water containing 8 ppt NaCl, their plasma [Na+] increased significantly above values in the freshwater control group until they were transferred back to freshwater. Pituitary GH mRNA levels were low for the first 24 hours following transfer to saline water, but thereafter were significantly elevated above control values until the fish were transferred back to freshwater. Pituitary GH mRNA levels were highest in July and lowest in December. Growth hormone mRNA levels were also elevated in the size groups 15–18 g and 956–1134 g in July when compared with December values. Pituitary PRL mRNA levels increased for the first 24 hours following transfer to saline water (956–1134 g), but thereafter were significantly lower than control values until the fish were transferred back to freshwater. Pituitary PRL mRNA levels were highest in April and July and lowest in December, and were also elevated in the size groups 620–664 g and 956–1134 g. Pituitary SL mRNA levels were unaffected in catfish transferred to saline water; however, levels were significantly elevated in catfish of the 956–1134-g size group sampled in April when compared with December. These results suggest the involvement of GH in adaptation to brackish water and of PRL in adaptation to freshwater in the catfish, and seasonal and size-related differences in pituitary GH, PRL, and SL mRNA levels.
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