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Regulation of Salmon Gonadotrophin-Releasing Hormone Gene Expression by Sex Steroids in Rainbow Trout Brain


Dr A. Vetillard, MRC Toxicology Unit, Hodgkin Building, University of Leicester, Lancaster Road, Leicester LE1 9HN, UK (e-mail:


Salmon gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (sGnRH) is the major form of gonadotrophin-releasing hormone in the brain of Salmonids and is encoded by two different genes: sGnRH1 and sGnRH2. In the present study, we examined the expression patterns of these two genes during development and throughout the reproductive cycle of the female rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), and also investigated the feedback action of sex steroids on brain mRNA levels. Both genes are expressed as early as 14 days postfertilisation and show a similar expression pattern during early life stages. In the adult female, sGnRH1 and sGnRH2 mRNAs are both present in neurones located in the ventral forebrain. This gene expression in the brain appears to be low during early vitellogenesis, and increases during oocyte maturation to reach a maximum after ovulation. The expression of sGnRH1 was not modified by in vivo steroid treatments in any experiment; however, testosterone and 5α-dihydrotestosterone down-regulate brain sGnRH2 gene in immature and adult ovariectomised females. Oestradiol treatment decreases sGnRH2 mRNA levels in the brain of adult ovariectomised females only. In the triploid fish brain, none of the steroids affect brain sGnRH mRNA levels. Our results suggest that, unlike sGnRH1, the sGnRH2 gene is under a strongly androgenic inhibitory control in the immature and adult female rainbow trout.