Cortisol stimulates intestinal fluid uptake in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) in the post-smolt stage

Document Type


Date of Original Version



The fluid uptake rate of the posterior intestine of salmonids increases during the parr-smolt transformation. Intestinal fluid uptake in post-smolt Atlantic salmon was investigated after treatment with cortisol and growth hormone (GH), alone or together. Two replicate experiments were conducted in August 1991 and August 1992. Cortisol was emulsified in vegetable shortening and vegetable oil (1:1) and implanted into the peritoneal cavity. GH was administered as intraperitoneal injections in a saline vehicle on days 0 and 2. On days 5 and 6, plasma cortisol levels, gill Na+,K+-ATPase activity, and in vitro measurements of fluid transport rate (Jv) across the posterior intestine were measured. Implants of cortisol elevated the plasma cortisol levels within a physiological range, and resulted in elevated gill Na+,K+-ATPase activity, as expected. The fluid uptake rate across the posterior intestine was roughly doubled by cortisol treatment. GH treatment did not affect intestinal fluid transport, gill Na+,K+-ATPase activity, or plasma cortisol concentrations. The seawater-adapting increase in the rate of fluid uptake by the posterior intestine of smolting salmon is probably stimulated by elevated plasma cortisol concentrations. © 1994 Kugler Publications.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Fish Physiology and Biochemistry