Characterization of the gonadotropin-releasing hormone system in the Neotropical teleost, Steindachneridion parahybae during the annual reproductive cycle in captivity
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This study evaluated by immunohistochemical and Western blot methods, the distribution of two distinct gonadotropin-releasing hormones (GnRHs), corresponding to catfish GnRH (cfGnRH or GnRH1) and chicken-II GnRH (cGnRH-II or GnRH2), in Steindachneridion parahybae females in captivity, focusing these analyses on the reproductive cycle by semi-quantification of optical density (OD). Further, we found that the GnRH neuronal systems co-localized with their respective GnRH-associated peptides (GAPs). A group of neurons immunoreactive (ir) to GnRH1 were identified along the ventral region of the olfactory bulb (vOB) in the telencephalon (vTel) and in the main areas of the diencephalon (especially the medial basal hypothalamus, HBM), including fibers extending into the pituitary gland. In contrast, GnRH2 neurons were confined to the midbrain tegmentum, close to the ventricular surface, without projections to the pituitary gland. Moreover, a cfGAP (GnRH1)-specific band (9 kDa) was identified in the brain and pituitary gland, while a cGAP-II (GnRH2)-specific band (26 kDa) was observed only in the brain extract. During the reproductive cycle, GnRH1-ir presented greater OD values at the vitellogenic and regression stages than at the previtellogenic stage and after artificially induced to spawn. Larger GnRH2-ir neurons were observed during the reproductive cycle, but a higher OD was identified only in the regression stage compared with the other maturation stages. Finally, GnRH1 axons were found to be directed towards the pituitary, and this GnRH type, which is probably the hypophysiotropic form, can contribute to the reproductive dysfunction that occurs in S. parahybae females in captivity, whereas GnRH2 may act as a neuromodulator and/or neurotransmitter.