Hormone receptors in gills of smolting Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar: expression of growth hormone, prolactin, mineralocorticoid and glucocorticoid receptors and 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 2.Gen Comp Endocrinol. 2007 Jun-Jul; 152(2-3):295-303.GC
This is the first study to report concurrent dynamics in mRNA expression of growth hormone receptor (GHR), prolactin receptor (PRLR), gluco- and mineralocorticoid receptor (GR and MR) and the 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type-2 enzyme (11beta-HSD2) in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) gill during smoltification. Transcript levels were analysed by quantitative PCR in fresh water (FW) fish and after a 24-h salt water (SW) challenge. GHR transcript levels increased concurrent with gill Na(+),K(+)-ATPase activity in FW fish consistent with the SW-adaptive role of GH. SW-transfer induced an increased GHR expression levels in the early stages of smoltification but a decrease in expression at the peak of smoltification. PRLR transcript levels decreased steadily during smoltification in agreement with the recognized hyper-osmoregulatory role of PRL. Surprisingly, PRLR levels increased after SW transfer during the course of smoltification. GR mRNA levels were low early on during smoltification but increased at the peak of smoltification and remained high during de-smoltification, indicative of increased cortisol signalling at this point. Coherently, SW transfer increased GR levels to smolt levels prior to the smoltification peak. 11beta-HSD2 levels increased at the smoltification peak and MR levels increased during de-smoltification, suggesting a need for protection of MR from cortisol signalling during smoltification. This is supported by the fact that SW-transfer results in a profound up-regulation of 11beta-HSD2, whereas SW transfer down-regulates MR levels. The study concludes that GR and MR may have distinctive roles in developing hypo- and hyper-osmoregulatory mechanisms during smoltification and de-smoltification, respectively.