Stress impairs the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis, probably through its influence on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (= interrenals in the teleost, HPI) axis leading to reproductive failures. In this study, we investigated the response of hypothalamic neuropeptides, gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone (GnIH), a component of the HPG axis, and corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) a component of the HPI axis, to acute social defeat stress in the socially hierarchical male Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus). Localization of GnIH cell bodies, GnIH neuronal processes, and numbers of GnIH cells in the brain during acute social defeat stress was studied using immunohistochemistry. Furthermore, mRNA levels of GnIH and CRH in the brain together with GnIH receptor, gpr147, and adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) in the pituitary were quantified in control and socially defeated fish. Our results show, the number of GnIH-immunoreactive cell bodies and GnIH mRNA levels in the brain and the levels of gpr147 mRNA in the pituitary significantly increased in socially defeated fish. However, CRH and ACTH mRNA levels did not change during social defeat stress. Further, we found glucocorticoid type 2b receptor mRNA in laser captured immunostained GnIH cells. These results show that acute social defeat stress activates GnIH biosynthesis through glucocorticoid receptors type 2b signalling but does not change the CRH and ACTH mRNA expression in the tilapia, which could lead to temporary reproductive dysfunction.
- Nile Tilapia