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Endocrine (plasma cortisol and glucose) and behavioral (locomotor and self-feeding activity) circadian rhythms in Senegalese sole (Solea senegalensis Kaup 1858) exposed to light/dark cycles or constant light

Abstract

The existence of daily rhythms under light/dark (LD) cycles in plasma cortisol, blood glucose and locomotor and self-feeding activities, as well as their persistence (circadian nature) under constant light (LL), was investigated in Senegalese sole (Solea senegalensis). For the cortisol and glucose rhythms study, 48 soles were equally distributed in 8 tanks and exposed to a 12:12 LD cycle and natural water temperature (experiment 1). After an acclimation period, blood was sampled every 3 h until a 24-h cycle was completed. Blood glucose levels were measured immediately after sampling, while plasma cortisol was measured later by ELISA. In experiment 2, the fish were exposed to LL for 11 days, and after this period, the same sampling procedure was repeated. For the study of locomotor and self-feeding rhythms (experiment 3), two groups of sole were used: one exposed to LD and the other to LL. Each group was distributed within 3 tanks equipped with infrared photocells for the record of locomotor activity, and self-feeders for feeding behavior characterization. The results revealed a marked oscillation in cortisol concentrations during the daily cycle under LD, with a peak (35.65 ± 3.14 ng/ml) in the afternoon (15:00 h) and very low levels during the night (5.30 ± 1.09 ng/ml). This cortisol rhythm persisted under LL conditions, with lower values (mean cortisol concentration = 7.12 ± 1.11 ng/ml) and with the peak shifted by 3 h. Both rhythms were confirmed by COSINOR analysis (p < 0.05). The synchronizing role of temperature and feeding schedule, in addition to light, is also discussed. Diel rhythms of glucose were not evident in LD or LL. As to locomotor and self-feeding activity, a very marked rhythm was observed under LD, with higher activity observed during the night, with acrophases located at 2:14 and 3:37 h, respectively. The statistical significance of daily rhythms was confirmed by COSINOR analysis. Under LL, both feeding and locomotor rhythms persisted, with an endogenous period (τ) around 22.5 h. In short, our findings described for the first time the existence of circadian cortisol and behavioral circadian rhythms in flat fish. Such results revealed the importance of taking into account the time of day when assessing stress responses and evaluating physiological indicators of stress in fish.

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Acknowledgments

This research has been financed by the projects AGL2010-22139-C03-01 and AQUAGENOMICS (Consolider-Ingenio 2010 Program), Programa Nacional de lenguado JACUMAR 2009-2011, and SENECA 05690/PI/07. The authors would also like to thank Dr. José Fernando López-Olmeda for help and advice during laboratory analysis.

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Correspondence to F. Javier Sánchez-Vazquez.

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Oliveira, C.C.V., Aparício, R., Blanco-Vives, B. et al. Endocrine (plasma cortisol and glucose) and behavioral (locomotor and self-feeding activity) circadian rhythms in Senegalese sole (Solea senegalensis Kaup 1858) exposed to light/dark cycles or constant light. Fish Physiol Biochem 39, 479–487 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10695-012-9713-2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10695-012-9713-2

Keywords

  • Plasma cortisol
  • Blood glucose
  • Locomotor activity
  • Self-feeding
  • Daily rhythms
  • Circadian rhythms
  • Solea senegalensis