Our current understanding of the hormonal control of ion regulation in aquatic vertebrates comes primarily from studies on teleost fishes, with relatively little information on more basal fishes. We investigated the role of cortisol in regulating seawater tolerance and its underlying mechanisms in an anadromous chondrostean, the Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus). Exposure of freshwater-reared Atlantic sturgeon to seawater (25 ppt) resulted in transient (1–3 day) increases in plasma chloride, cortisol and glucose levels and long-term (6–14 day) increases in the abundance of gill Na+/K+/2Cl− cotransporter (NKCC), which plays a critical role in salt secretion in teleosts. The abundance of gill V-type H+-ATPase, which is thought to play a role in ion uptake in fishes, decreased after exposure to seawater. Gill Na+/K+-ATPase activity did not increase in 25 ppt seawater, but did increase in fish gradually acclimated to 30 ppt. Treatment of Atlantic sturgeon in freshwater with exogenous cortisol resulted in dose-dependent increases in cortisol, glucose and gill NKCC and H+-ATPase abundance. Our results indicate that cortisol has an important role in regulating mechanisms for ion secretion and uptake in sturgeon and provide support for the hypothesis that control of osmoregulation and glucose by corticosteroids is a basal trait of jawed vertebrates.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Cortisol is an osmoregulatory and glucose-regulating hormone in Atlantic sturgeon, a basal ray-finned fish|
|Series title||Journal of Experimental Biology|
|Publisher||The Company of Biologists|
|Contributing office(s)||Leetown Science Center|
|Google Analytic Metrics||Metrics page|