Prolactin (PRL) is a well-known regulator of ion and water transport within osmoregulatory tissues across vertebrate species, yet how PRL acts on some of its target tissues remains poorly understood. Using zebrafish as a model, we show that ionocytes in the gill directly respond to systemic PRL to regulate mechanisms of ion uptake. Ion-poor conditions led to increases in the expression of PRL receptor (prlra), Na+/Cl− cotransporter (ncc; slc12a10.2), Na+/H+ exchanger (nhe3b; slc9a3.2), and epithelial Ca2+ channel (ecac; trpv6) transcripts within the gill. Intraperitoneal injection of ovine PRL (oPRL) increased ncc and prlra transcripts, but did not affect nhe3b or ecac. Consistent with direct PRL action in the gill, addition of oPRL to cultured gill filaments stimulated ncc in a concentration-dependent manner, an effect blocked by a pure human PRL receptor antagonist (Δ1-9-G129R-hPRL). These results suggest that PRL signaling through PRL receptors in the gill regulates the expression of ncc, thereby linking this pituitary hormone with an effector of Cl− uptake in zebrafish for the first time.
Additional publication details
Prolactin regulates transcription of the ion uptake Na+/Cl- cotransporter (ncc) gene in zebrafish gill