Smoltification in steelhead trout (Salmo gairdneri): Developmental aspects of plasma constituents

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Selected biochemical parameters were measured in the plasma of both underyearling anadromous steelhead trout (Salmo gairdneri) and underyearling resident S. gairdneri. The analyses were conducted in an effort to determine whether or not there might be changes which could be associated with the parr-smolt transformation of anadromous strains. Plasma NH+4 and plasma Na+ were assayed and plasma proteins were analyzed by two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (2D PAGE). Ammonia was the only plasma ion to show changes with time that were different between the two strains of fish. Proteins prepared by 2D PAGE exhibited developmental changes in both migratory and nonmigratory fish. Each strain exhibited changes with time and the anadromous fish displayed patterns of proteins that were not observed in the nonanadromous strain. It is possible that certain changes in the protein constituents found in anadromous fish are associated with the processes of smoltification. The data are consistent with the notion that this developmental event occurs over an extended period of time and is not restricted to the spring. The data suggest that there may be some changes that occur in certain plasma constituents of migratory fish beginning in the fall and continuing into the spring. The data also indicate that certain ontogenetic events that are not associated with smoltification can be ascertained by analyses of plasma. © 1988 Kugler Publication.

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Fish Physiology and Biochemistry