The effect of starvation and re-feeding on vasotocinergic and isotocinergic pathways in immature gilthead sea bream (Sparus aurata).

Skrzynska AK, Gozdowska M, Kulczykowska E et al.

Department of Biology, Faculty of Marine and Environmental Sciences, Campus de Excelencia Internacional del Mar (CEI-MAR), University of Cádiz, 11519, Puerto Real, Cádiz, Spain.

Journal of comparative physiology. B, Biochemical, systemic, and environmental physiology. Mar 2017.

This study describes the responses of the vasotocinergic and isotocinergic systems to food deprivation and re-feeding processes in immature gilthead sea bream (Sparus aurata). The animals were subjected to the following experimental treatments: (1) normal feeding (control), (2) food deprivation for 21 days; and (3) re-feeding for 7 days, beginning 14 days after starvation. The animals were sampled at 0, 7, 14 and 21 days from the beginning of the trial. The pituitary and plasma arginine vasotocin (AVT) and isotocin (IT) levels and the hypothalamic pro-vasotocin and pro-isotocin mRNA expression levels were measured. In addition, the mRNA levels of three receptors, avtr v1, avtr v2 and itr, were analyzed in target organs associated with (1) the integration and control of different physiological pathways related to stress and food intake (i.e., the hypothalamus), (2) hormonal release into the bloodstream (i.e., the pituitary), and (3) metabolism and its control (i.e., the liver). The metabolic parameters in the liver were also determined. The hepatosomatic index decreased, and hepatic metabolites were mobilized beginning in the early stages of starvation. Moreover, an over-compensation of these parameters occurred when the fish were re-fed after starvation. In terms of the vasotocinergic and isotocinergic systems, feed restriction induced a clear time-dependent regulation among metabolic organization, stress regulation and orexigenic processes in the mature hormone concentration and pro-peptide and receptor mRNA expression. Our results reveal the important role of the AVT/IT endocrine systems in the orchestration of fish physiology during starvation and re-feeding and indicate their involvement in both central and peripheral organs.