The black carp, Mylopharyngodon piceus, is a late-maturing cyprinid reaching sexual maturity at the age of 6-7 years. The present work attempted to define nonfunctional sites along the pituitary-gonadal axis in immature fish utilizing in vivo and in vitro challenge experiments. Two- and 3-year old fish injected with salmon gonadotropin-releasing hormone analog (sGnRHa; 10 μg/kg) and metoclopramide (20 mg/kg) did not reveal any increase in circulating gonadotropin (cGtH) or estradiol (E2) level. Furthermore, cGtH release from cultured pituitary cells of fish at these ages did not increase in response to sGnRH (0.1 nM - 1 μM) but was augmented when exposed to TPA (12.5 nM). However, 4-year old female fish did respond to the above treatments both in vivo and in vitro. These results suggest the existence of nonfunctional site(s) proximal to the activation of PKC in the immature black carp gonadotrophs, probably at the level of GnRH receptors. These site(s) start to become functional in 4-year old fish. Two- and 3-year old fish injected with common carp pituitary extract (CPE) containing 350 μg cGtH/kg did not show any increase in circulating E2. In addition, the estrogen secretion from fragments of the rudimentary gonads did not increase after exposure to CPE containing cGtH (0.5-4 μg/ml) but was elevated dose-dependently by exposure to dbcAMP (0.3-3 mM). However, the ovaries of 4-year old fish did respond to the gonadotropic stimulation, both in vivo and in vitro. These results suggest the existence of other non-functional site(s) in the immature black carp, proximal to the formation of cAMP in the gonads, probably at the level of GtH receptors. These site(s) start to become functional in 4-year old females. Another source of E2 was discovered in the immature black carp: namely, the fat pad adjacent to the gonads. In contrast to the visceral adipose tissue, the fat pad secretes estrogen in response to cAMP elevation in 2- and 3-year old fish while in 4-year old fish it also responds to gonadotropic stimulation. Due to its large mass and high steroidogenic potency, it is assumed that the gonadal fat pad is involved in the process of puberty in the black carp. (C) 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
|Number of pages
|Journal of Experimental Zoology
|Published - 1 Mar 2000