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Prolactin and Cortisol Control of Salinity Preferences in Gasterosteus Aculeatus and Apeltes Quadracus

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Prolactin and cortisol effects on the salinity preferences of Gasterosteus aculeatus and Apeltes quadracus were examined in order to evaluate two possible mechanisms of endocrine transduction of the effects of photoperiod on salinity preferences: the temporal synergism hypothesis and the hypothesis of direct hormonal regulation. The tests of the temporal synergism hypothesis which were conducted with fish acclimated to continuous light showed that prolactin shifted salinity preferences of G. aculeatus and A. quadracus from salt to fresh water although solvent injections produced a similar effect in A. quadracus. Cortisol promoted a preference for salt water in A. quadracus. An interaction between these hormones was demonstrated for both species as simultaneous injection of cortisol and prolactin masked the specific effects of each hormone. In G. aculeatus a 12 h delay between injection of both hormones restored the response obtained with prolactin injected alone. As no condition restored salt water preferences, the time-lag between the plasma peaks of these 2 hormones cannot directly regulate seasonal changes in salinity preferences as shown for Fundulusgrandis (FIVIZZANI & MEIER, 1978). Fish acclimated to 9L:15D and 14L: 10D were used to test the hypothesis of direct hormonal regulation of salinity preferences. Prolactin and saline both promoted a fresher water preference in G. aculeatus, while prolactin clearly shifted the salinity preference of A. quadracus to fresh water. In A. quadracus acclimated to 14L: 10D, both cortisol and saline promoted a preference for more saline waters. Although solvent effects must be studied more intensively, one can conclude that seasonal differences in prolactin and cortisol levels (and possibly rhythms) are important in the regulation of salinity preferences in sticklebacks.

Affiliations: 1: (Départment de Biologie, Université Laval, Québec, Canada G1K 7P4)


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