Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 93, Issue 3, pp 333–342 | Cite as

Starvation reduces the heat shock protein responses in white sturgeon larvae

  • Dong Han
  • Susie S. Y. Huang
  • Wei-Fang Wang
  • Dong-Fang Deng
  • Silas S. O. Hung


This study investigates the responses of white sturgeon larvae (Acipenser transmontanus) to starvation and thermal stress, through the measurement of nutritional status (i.e. growth performances) and cellular biomarkers: heat shock proteins (Hsp) 70 and 90. White sturgeon larvae (25 day post hatch; initial weight 179.0 ± 5.1 mg) were fed (20% body weight per day) or starved for 24, 48 or 72 hrs. Every 24 hrs, five larvae from each of the starved or fed treatment replicates were exposed to heat shock resulting from an increase in water temperature from 19°C to 26°C, at a rate of 1°C per 15 min, and maintained at 26°C for 4 hrs. No mortality was observed in this study. Starvation significantly (p < 0.05) decreased the body weight and body contents of energy, protein, and lipid of the experimental larvae, compared to the fed larvae. Heat shock induced the expressions of Hsp70 and Hsp90 in both the fed and starved group; however, starvation reduced the induction at all sampling points. The current study demonstrates that poor larval nutritional status, assessed by the aforementioned parameters, reduced heat shock responses to thermal stress, as measured by heat shock protein levels. Furthermore, Hsp70 and 90 are more sensitive to heat shock and starvation, respectively. This may be, in part, a result of the different functioning of the heat shock proteins in cellular stress response and warrants further study.


Nutrient supply Thermal stress Hsp70 Hsp90 Sturgeon larvae 



This research is funded by the CALFED Science Program (Project # 2006–1035). We acknowledge the support of the Natural Science Foundation of China (31072225, PR China), the China Scholarship Council (PR China), and the Nature Science and Engineering Council of Canada. We would also like to thank Lazy-Q Fish Ranch for their generous supply of white sturgeon larvae and CABA for the use of the research facilities.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dong Han
    • 1
  • Susie S. Y. Huang
    • 2
  • Wei-Fang Wang
    • 3
  • Dong-Fang Deng
    • 4
  • Silas S. O. Hung
    • 2
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Freshwater Ecology and BiotechnologyInstitute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of SciencesWuhanPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of Animal ScienceUniversity of California, DavisDavisUSA
  3. 3.Qingdao Key Laboratory for Marine Fish Breeding and BiotechnologyYellow Sea Fisheries Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Fishery SciencesQingdaoPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.Aquatic Feeds and Nutrition DepartmentOceanic InstituteHawaiiUSA

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