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Estrogen therapy offsets thermal impairment of vitellogenesis, but not zonagenesis, in maiden spawning female Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar)

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posted on 2023-05-19, 20:05 authored by Kelli AndersonKelli Anderson, Pankhurst, N, King, H, Elizur, A

In female Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), exposure to warm summer temperatures causes a reduction in plasma 17β-estradiol (E2), which impairs downstream vitellogenesis and zonagenesis, and reduces egg fertility and embryo survival. The aim of the present study was to determine whether E2-treatment could offset thermal impairment of endocrine function and maintain egg quality in maiden (first-time-spawning) S. salar reared at 22 °C. Treatment with E2 at 22 °C stimulated vitellogenin (vtg) gene expression and subsequent protein synthesis which promoted oocyte growth and increased egg size relative to untreated fish at 14 and 22 °C. However, E2-treatment at 22 °C was not associated with an increase in egg fertility and embryo survival relative to untreated fish at 22 °C, despite the positive effects of E2-treatment on vitellogenesis and oocyte growth. As there was no evidence to suggest that the estrogen receptor alpha expression was suppressed by high temperature, this could be due to the lack of stimulation on zonagenesis by E2-treatment observed at high temperature during oocyte development. Our results demonstrate that treatment with E2 is not able to maintain zonagenesis or egg quality in maiden S. salar at high temperature, even when vtg gene expression, protein synthesis and subsequent oocyte growth is promoted. This implies that the mechanisms regulating zonagenesis, but not vitellogenesis are impaired at elevated temperature in female S. salar broodstock, and highlights the remarkable complexity of thermally induced endocrine disruption in fish.


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Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


PeerJ, Ltd.

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

Copyright 2017 Anderson et al. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Aquaculture fin fish (excl. tuna)

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