Intracerebral expression of gonadotropin-releasing hormone and growth hormone-releasing hormone is delayed until smoltification in the salmon

Ishwar S. Parhar, Munehico Iwata

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A developmental strategy was employed to investigate the functional assembly of neuropeptidergic systems in the migratory species of chum salmon Oncorhynchus keta. Using immunocytochemistry we have demonstrated that different groups of gonadotropin-releasing hormone- (GnRH)- and growth hormone-releasing hormone- (GHRH)-synthesizing neurons emerged according to very different developmental timetables. From the eye pigmentation stage (23 ± 2 days after fertilisation (DAF)) through to the pre-smoltification stage (136 DAF), salmon-GnRH neurons originating from the olfactory placodes remained restricted to the extracerebral course of the terminal nerve. At the climax of smoltification (downstream migration 167 DAF), basal forebrain and midbrain GnRH neurons with elaborate neurite outgrowths in the brain and the pituitary became detectable. The GnRH neuroanatomical organization in the post-smoltification stage (197 DAF) was similar to that in the smoltification stage (167 DAF). In contrast to the case for other teleosts, chicken-GnRHII neurons were not found in the midbrain but were localized along the medial regions of the olfactory nerve. Growth hormone-releasing hormone immunoreactivity in the olfactory apparatus (21 DAF), and fibers along the basal telencephalon and hypothalamus and in the pituitary were observed during early embryogenesis (51 DAF) and in cells in the preoptic area on 167 DAF. The intracerebral expression of GnRH and GHRH was not detected until the peak of smoltification, which coincided with a peak in thyroid hormones, and precisely with downstream migratory behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-308
Number of pages10
JournalNeuroscience Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • GHRH
  • Hormone
  • LHRH
  • Neurogenesis
  • Olfactory
  • Oncorhynchus keta
  • Pituitary
  • Terminal nerve
  • Thyroid hormone

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