Incorporation and metabolism of cortisol in oocytes of tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus)

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The entry and metabolism of 3H-cortisol in oocytes were investigated using isolated follicles of the tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus) in order to examine the mechanisms of incorporation of maternal hormones into oocytes. The composition of 3H-labeled steroids in the oocyte was analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography. A significant amount of cortisol was converted to cortisone and an unidentified molecule by the follicular layer. The contents of 3H-cortisol and 3H-cortisone in the oocyte reached an equilibrium level within 12 hr, whereas the content of the unidentified metabolite continued to increase for 36 hr. The total content of the incorporated cortisol and its metabolites was proportional to cortisol in the medium over the concentration range of 5 ng/ml to 5 μg/ml. The amounts of cortisone and the unidentified molecule increased proportionally when the concentration of cortisol in the medium was lower than 500 ng/ml, whereas they reached a plateau when the concentration of cortisol exceeded 500 ng/ml. Cortisol entry was reversible, because 90% of cortisol and cortisone in the oocyte was lost within 18 hr when the medium was changed to that without 3H-cortisol. On the other hand, 50% of the unidentified molecule was preserved at the end of the incubation. In conclusion, the entry of cortisol into the oocyte was considered to be nonspecific and due probably to simple diffusion. However, a considerable amount of cortisol (50-70%) was specifically converted to cortisone and another unidentified molecule during passage through the follicular layer. (C) 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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Journal of Experimental Zoology