Heat shock proteins are not sensitive indicators of hatchery stress in salmon

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An array of physiological, endocrinological, biochemical and behavioral indicators have been investigated for utility in assessing the level of stress imposed on cultured finfish by rearing conditions and husbandry practices. In the present report, juvenile Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) were exposed to common forms of hatchery stress and the response of heat shock proteins (hsp) 30, 70 and 90 were measured as possible indicators of stress. Treatments included exposure to two types of anesthesia (tricaine methanesulfonate and 2-phenoxyethanol), formalin, hypoxia, hyperoxia, capture stress, crowding, feed deprivation and cold stress. Exposure of fish to heat stress at 26°C (ΔT = 11°C) served as a positive control, and untreated fish were used as a negative control. Total RNA was isolated from gill tissue following treatment, and subjected to Northern analysis with cDNA probes specific to the three hsps. Hsp70 and Hsp90 mRNA levels increased three-fold and two-fold above control levels, respectively, following 15-min heat stress. Hsp30 mRNA levels were unaffected by 15-min exposure to heat stress, but increased two-fold over control levels following 30-min exposure. In contrast, hsp mRNA was not upregulated in response to the different hatchery stresses examined. Although cold stress, crowding and capture stress caused an increase in hsp90 mRNA levels, these were not significant. The findings suggest that hsp30, hsp70 and hsp90 are not sensitive indicators of hatchery stress in Atlantic salmon. © 2003 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

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