A 'reverse' phylogenetic approach for identification of novel osmoregulatory and cardiovascular hormones in vertebrates

Yoshio Takei, Maho Ogoshi, Koji Inoue

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Vertebrates expanded their habitats from aquatic to terrestrial environments during the course of evolution. In parallel, osmoregulatory and cardiovascular systems evolved to counter the problems of desiccation and gravity on land. In our physiological studies on body fluid and blood pressure regulation in various vertebrate species, we found that osmoregulatory and cardiovascular hormones have changed their structure and function during the transition from aquatic to terrestrial life. In fact, Na+-regulating and vasodepressor hormones play essential roles in fishes, while water-regulating and vasopressor hormones are dominant in tetrapods. Accordingly, Na+-regulating and vasodepressor hormones, such as natriuretic peptide (NP) and adrenomedullin (AM), are much diversified in teleost fishes compared with mammals. Based on this finding, new NPs and AMs were identified in mammals and other tetrapods. These hormones have only minor roles in the maintenance of normal blood volume and pressure in mammals, but their importance seems to increase when homeostasis is disrupted. Therefore, such hormones can be used for diagnosis and treatment of body fluid and cardiovascular disorders such as cardiac/renal failure and hypertension. In this review, we introduce a new approach for identification of novel Na+-regulating and vasodepressor hormones in mammals based on fish studies. Until recently, new hormones were first discovered in mammals, and then identified and applied in fishes. However, chances are increasing in recent years to identify new hormones first in fishes then in mammals, based on the difference in the regulatory systems between fishes and tetrapods. As the direction is opposite from the traditional phylogenetic approach, we added 'reverse' to its name. The 'reverse' phylogenetic approach offers a typical example of how comparative fish studies can contribute to the general and clinical endocrinology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-160
Number of pages18
JournalFrontiers in Neuroendocrinology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Aquatic fishes
  • Body fluid regulation
  • Calcitonin gene-related peptide family
  • Cardiovascular regulation
  • Comparative genomics
  • Environmental adaptation
  • Molecular evolution
  • Natriuretic peptide family
  • Terrestrial tetrapods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems


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