Compared to teleosts, little is known about the stress response in chondrosteans, and the glucocorticoid(s) most responsive to stress have never been definitively determined in sturgeon. In terms of cortisol production, pallid sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus) have a low physiological response to stress compared to other sturgeons (Acipenser sp.). Because of this, our null hypothesis was that cortisol is not the predominant glucocorticoid secreted in response to stress in pallid sturgeon. Our objective was to identify the putative glucocorticoids present in the plasma of pallid sturgeon during the stress response. Pallid sturgeon were subjected to a severe confinement stress (12 h) with an additional handling stressor for the first 6 h. Control fish were not subjected to confinement but were handled only to collect blood. Blood plasma was collected at time 0, 6, and 12 h. Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry was used to screen the plasma for the spectrum of glucocorticoids and determine the putative steroid secreted during the stress response. Cortisol was the primary glucocorticoid detected in stressed pallid sturgeon. In addition, the cortisol metabolites cortisone, alloTHE (5??-pregnane-3??,17??,21-triol-11,20-dione), allo-??-cortolone (3??,17??,20??,21-tetrahydro-5??-pregnan-11-one), and allo-??-cortolone (3??,17??,20??,21-tetrahydro-5??-pregnan-11-one) were detected. Plasma cortisol increased from a resting concentration of 0.67 ng/ml to 10.66 ng/ml at 6 h followed by a decrease to 6.78 ng/ml by 12 h. Plasma glucose increased significantly by time 6 and 12 h in both stressed and unstressed groups and remained elevated at time 12 h, while resting lactate concentrations were low to non-detectable and did not increase significantly with the stressor over time. Cortisol was the primary glucocorticoid synthesized and secreted in response to a stressor in pallid sturgeon. Though the proportional increase in plasma cortisol in stressed pallid sturgeon was lower than many other species of sturgeon, the concentration was high enough to elicit a secondary stress response as seen by changes in plasma glucose. ?? 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Additional publication details
Identification of plasma glucocorticoids in pallid sturgeon in response to stress