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Aromatase activity in the European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax L.) brain. Distribution and changes in relation to age, sex, and the annual reproductive cycle

AuthorsGonzález Cabeza, Alicia ; Piferrer, Francesc
Sea bass
Dicentrarchus labrax
Issue Date10-Apr-2003
CitationGeneral and Comparative Endocrinology 132(2): 223-230 (2003)
AbstractCytochrome P450 aromatase activity (AA) was measured in different tissues of the sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax L.) using a tritiated water release assay that was previously optimized and validated for this species. In adult fish entering the reproductive season, AA was highest on a per mg protein basis, in the brain (2.04±0.4 pmol/mg prot/h; mean ± SEM), followed by the ovary (0.59±0.1) and was detectable in visceral fat (0.21±0.05), liver (0.08±0.009), and head kidney (0.03±0.004). However, AA was negligible in the rest of the tissues tested: heart, testis, muscle, and spleen. Consistent with results obtained in other species, dissection of the brain into its major constitutive parts revealed that AA was concentrated in areas implicated in the control of reproduction, including the olfactory bulb, telencephalon, and hypothalamus (range: 2.6–16.2 pmol/mg prot/h), as well as the pituitary gland (6.2–9.3 pmol/mg prot/h). Lower AA was noted in the optic bulb, cerebellum, and medulla. However, in contrast to some previously published reports concerning the content and distribution of neural aromatase in fish, males consistently exhibited higher AA than females. In one-year-old juvenile fish completing the process of gonadal sex differentiation, brain AA (0.63 pmol/mg prot/h) was similar in both sexes and ten times lower than that measured in the brain of first time spawners (6.52 pmol/mg prot/h), in this case with males showing an overall higher (24%) activity than females. When surveyed throughout the year, brain AA dramatically changed during the reproductive cycle. Maximum average values of not, vert, similar7 pmol/mg prot/h were obtained that coincided with the spawning season. The peak in brain AA was preceded by two and one months by the peak of plasma testosterone and the peak of the gonadosomatic index, respectively. This is the first measurement of the distribution of the activity of a steroidogenic enzyme in the sea bass, an established model in comparative endocrinology. Together, these results demonstrate sex- and seasonally-related variations in AA and establish the basis for further comparative studies of certain androgen-mediated actions through locally formed estrogen in both central and peripheral targets.
Description8 pages, 4 figures.-- PMID: 12812769 [PubMed].-- Printed version published Jun 15, 2003.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0016-6480(03)00086-8
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