Circannual variations in plasma levels of testosterone (T), 17β-estradiol (E2), and 17α,20β-dihydroxy-4-pregnen-3-one (DHP) as well as seasonal fluctuations in ovarian steroid synthetic potential were observed in Indian major carp, Labeo rohita. A study was also conducted to examine the mechanism of the development of gonadotropin-induced maturational competence in oocytes of this fish. The present study recorded the lowest values of plasma E2and T in L. rohita during the period from October to January. A mild increase in the levels of these steroids observed in February was followed by their rapid rise reaching peak values in April, when the ovary contained mostly the vitellogenic follicles. In the month of May, as the postvitellogenic follicles predominated in the ovary, there was a decline in plasma concentrations of both T and E2. Low levels of these steroids in plasma remained until January, except a small elevation detectable during June and July (spawning stage). DHP was not detected in the plasma of this fish collected during the period from August to March. Existence of DHP was first recorded in blood in the month of April (vitellogenic stage) and it quickly reached the peak value in May (postvitellogenic stage), followed by a sudden decline in the month of June. Under stimulation of fish pituitary extract (FPE), as a source of gonadotropin, in vitro production of E2and T by the vitellogenic follicles was shown to be highest compared to their production rate in other stages, while the postvitellogenic follicles recorded the highest rate of DHP synthesis. Acquisition of oocyte maturational competence (OMC) was shown to develop either by priming the vitellogenic stage fish with a single dose of FPE or by in vitro addition of FPE in culture. In vitro treatment of trilostane, an inhibitor of 3β-HSD, blocked the FPE-stimulated steroid production but not the development of OMC. Presence of cycloheximide and actinomycin D in the incubation was shown to inhibit FPE-induced development of OMC, indicating the requirement of de novo protein synthesis for this process. © 2002 Elsevier Science (USA). All rights reserved.
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