The effect of short term confinement stress on sex steroid binding protein (SBP) binding characteristics was examined in female black bream (Acanthopagrus butcheri), and rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Black bream were sampled immediately after capture from the wild and again after 1, 6 or 24 h confinement. Rainbow trout were sampled before and after 5 h confinement. Confinement of black bream for 6 h after capture significantly reduced the binding capacity of SBP. Binding affinity also tended to be lower after confinement. There were no differences in binding affinity or capacity of black bream SBP after 1 or 24 h confinement, or rainbow trout SBP after 5 h confinement. Plasma from rainbow trout at 3 and 6 h after treatment with cortisol was compared to plasma from saline-injected controls. No significant differences in binding characteristics were detected, but there was a trend of decreased binding capacity in cortisol-injected fish compared to controls at 6 h post-injection. Relative binding studies indicated that plasma cortisol at concentrations 100x or more greater than plasma estradiol (E2) may displace E2from SBP in black bream, and act to reduce circulating levels of E2through increased clearance of free steroid. Physiological levels of cortisol did not displace E2from SBP in trout. The observed changes in SBP and the competition of physiological concentrations of cortisol for SBP binding sites may generate a component of the stress-induced falls in plasma levels of E2reported across a range of species. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Inc.
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