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Seasonal changes in expression of LH-β and FSH-β in male and female three-spined stickleback, Gasterosteus aculeatus

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In teleost fishes, like in other vertebrates, the gonadal development is stimulated by two gonadotropic hormones; luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). To achieve a better understanding of the role of gonadotropins in teleost reproduction; expression of LH-β and FSH-β mRNA and the status of gonads and secondary sexual characters were analyzed over the annual cycle in male and female three-spined sticklebacks, a species in which the development of male secondary sexual characters and spermatogenesis are separated in time. The kidney in the male stickleback hypertrophies during the breeding season and produces a glue used when building nests. Kidney weights, as well as levels of 11-ketotestosterone (11KT), reached a peak in May. Both testosterone (T) levels and the gonadosomatic index (GSI, gonad weight/body weight × 100) in females started to increase in April, and peaked in May as well. Later in summer, after the breeding season, these features declined. In females, LH-β expression followed the GSI and T levels closely, levels were low during winter and early spring, increased to a peak in late May and declined to low levels again in July. FSH-β expression peaked earlier, in January and declined slowly over spring. In males, LH-β expression peaked in May. During June-September, when spermatogenesis was active, LH-β levels were very low. FSH-β expression peaked in January, earlier than LH-β expression did, and reached the lowest levels in July. Thus, when spermatogenesis started at the end of summer, the expression of both GTH-β mRNAs, and circulating 11KT, displayed their lowest levels. © 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.




Hellqvist, A., Schmitz, M., Mayer, I., & Borg, B. (2006). Seasonal changes in expression of LH-β and FSH-β in male and female three-spined stickleback, Gasterosteus aculeatus. General and Comparative Endocrinology, 145(3), 263–269.

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