Changes in gonadal hormones during oocyte development in the striped bass, Morone saxatilis

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Wild striped bass, Morone saxatilis, were collected from coastal waters and spawning areas to describe the endocrine correlates of oocyte development in non-captive, migratory fish. The fish were classified according to their most advanced oocytes. Serum levels of estradiol (E2), testosterone (T) and 17α-20β-dihydroxyprogesterone (DHP) were measured by radioimmunoassay (RIA). Females in the primary growth phase and early secondary growth phase (pre-vitellogenic) had low levels of plasma steroids, ovarian lipid content and gonadosomatic indices (GSIs). Significant increases in E2, T, ovarian lipid content and GSIs occurred during the vitellogenic phase. Maximum levels of all reproductive parameters were found in prespawning fish sampled in the Hudson River. Mean levels of E2, T, ovarian lipids and GSIs for these fish were 2.0±0.5 ng/ml, 3.0±0.3 ng/ml, 24±1 mg/g, and 5.6±0.3% (mean±SEM), respectively. In fish induced to spawn with human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), DHP levels (1.9±0.4 ng/ml) were significantly elevated. Similar levels were found in two fish captured during the spawning season, suggesting that DHP may serve as the maturation-inducing steroid in this species. © 1991 Kugler Publications, Amsterdam/Berkeley.

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Fish Physiology and Biochemistry