Reproductive cycle, ovarian development, and vertebrate-type steroids profile in the freshwater prawn Macrobrachium rosenbergii
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This study is intended to characterize the ovarian development and hemolymph vertebrate-type steroids concentration during the reproductive cycle of the freshwater prawn, Macrobrachium rosenbergii. A five-stage classification based on the external observation of the ovary's size and color as seen through the tegument was used. The results showed the existence of a direct correspondence between the ovarian stages and the gonadosomatic index, the oöcyte diameter, and the characteristics of ovarian histology. In each stage total bleeding of the prawns was conducted and the hemolymph concentrations of 17β-estradiol (E 2), testosterone (T) and 17α-hydroxyprogesterone (17-OHP; conjugated and unconjugated) were determined by solid-phase radioimmunoassay (RIA). High levels of unconjugated 17-OHP, relatively constant concentrations of unconjugated T, and null concentration of unconjugated E 2 were found throughout the five stages considered. Nonetheless, low levels of E 2 were determined in all stages, in conjugated (glucoronide) form. The highest levels were obtained in stage II and III (18.14 ± 14.52 pg/ml hemolymph) and progressively declined in the other stages (7.53 ± 6.76 pg/ml hemolymph). These results point out the possible involvement of vertebrate-type steroids in the endocrine regulation of the Macrobrachium rosenbergii's ovarian cycle. To our knowledge this is the first study concerning the vertebrate-like steroid levels throughout the ovarian cycle and is a step needed to characterize the hemolymph profile of these steroids in order to elucidate the possible role in the regulation of the reproductive crustacean cycle.