Food-deprivation affects seawater acclimation in tilapia: Hormonal and metabolic changes

Mathilakath M. Vijayan, John D. Morgan, Tatsuya Sakamoto, E. Gordon Grau, George K. Iwama

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

103 Citations (Scopus)


We tested the hypothesis that nutritional state affects seawater acclimation by transferring either fed or food-deprived (2 weeks) male tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus) from fresh water to full-strength sea water. Food-deprivation resulted in a significant increase in plasma concentrations of Na+, Cl-, cortisol, glucose, total amino acid, glutamate, serine and alanine, and in hepatic pyruvate kinase (PK) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activities, whereas the prolactin-188 to prolactin-177 ratio (tPRL188:tPRL177) and plasma prolactin-188 (tPRL188), lactate, arginine and hepatic glycogen content and hepatic alanine aminotransferase (AlaAT) and 3-hydroxyacyl-Coenzyme A dehydrogenase (HOAD) activities were lower than in the fed group. Seawater transfer significantly increased the tPRL188:tPRL177 ratio and plasma concentrations of Na+, Cl-, K+, growth hormone (GH), glucose, aspartate, tyrosine, alanine, methionine, phenylalanine, leucine, isoleucine and valine levels as well as gill Na+/K+-ATPase activity and hepatic PK and LDH activities, whereas plasma tPRL177, tPRL188, glycine and lysine concentrations were significantly lower than in fish retained in fresh water. There was a significant interaction between nutritional state and salinity that affected the tPRL188:tPRL177 ratio and plasma concentrations of Cl-, GH, glucose, aspartate, tyrosine, serine, alanine, glycine, arginine and hepatic PK, LDH, AlaAT, aspartate aminotransferase, glutamate dehydrogenase and HOAD activities. These results, taken together, indicate that food-deprived fish did not regulate their plasma Cl- levels, despite an enhancement of plasma hormonal and metabolic responses in sea water. Our study also suggests the possibility that plasma prolactin and essential amino acids may be playing an important role in the seawater acclimation process in tilapia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2467-2475
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Oreochromis mossambicus
  • cortisol
  • food- deprivation
  • gill Na/K-ATPase
  • growth hormone
  • ion regulation
  • metabolism
  • prolactin
  • stress
  • tilapia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Insect Science


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