The present study examines the expression of growth-regulating genes (gh, prl, smtl and igf1b), the estrogen receptors (esr1 and esr2a) and aromatase (cyp19a1a) in developing yellow perch. To gain an initial understanding into the endocrine control of growth preceding and involved with sexual size dimorphism (SSD), where females have been reported to grow faster and larger than males, young of the year fish were sampled for length, weight and tissues at several time points (102-421 days post-hatch (dph)). Positive growth was seen in both sexes over the sampling interval, but SSD was not manifested. Using real-time quantitative PCR, we found that pituitary growth hormone (gh) and liver insulin-like growth factor-1b (igf1b) mRNA levels were significantly affected by dph and levels were found to be correlated with growth in both sexes. Liver cyp19a1a, esr1 and esr2a mRNA levels were significantly influenced by dph, whereas there was a significant dph*sex interaction on liver esr2a mRNA levels with males having higher levels than females at 379 and 421 dph. Ovarian cyp19a1a decreased with dph, but there were no changes in esr1 or esr2a mRNA levels. Dietary treatment of juvenile (∼300 dph) females with 20 mg/kg diet 17β-estradiol resulted in significantly higher liver esr1 mRNA levels and a sustained hepatosomatic index (I(H)). Across all data sets liver esr2a mRNA levels showed the most significant positive correlation with liver igf1b mRNA levels. These findings show that growth is accompanied by increases in pituitary gh, liver igf1b and liver esr1 and esr2a mRNAs in juvenile yellow perch.
Published by Elsevier Inc.