Human Chorionic Gonadotropin-Induced Shifts in the Electrosensory System of the Weakly Electric Fish, Sternopygus

J Neurobiol. 1990 Jul;21(5):826-33. doi: 10.1002/neu.480210515.


Sternopygus macrurus of both sexes were injected with human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) or saline. Electric organ discharge (EOD) frequency rose after hCG injections in females and gradually declined to baseline levels over the next few weeks. EOD changes in males were more complex and variable; most males showed an initial minor rise in EOD frequency followed by a larger decrease, or simply a decrease. hCG treatment also resulted in a rise in electroreceptor best frequency and shortened electric organ pulse duration in females, and had the opposite effect on these parameters in males. The saline-injected controls showed no changes in any of these parameters. Levels of testosterone (T) and 11-ketotestosterone, but not estrogen (E), were elevated in males preceding the fall in EOD frequency, whereas neither T nor E changed significantly in females before EOD frequency increases. Saline injections caused a drop in T in the male control group and had no effect in the female control group. We presume that the effect of hCG on the electrosensory system of males is mediated via androgens. Whether the effects of hCG on females are mediated by slight increases in circulating levels of gonadal steroids, the release of hormones other than T or E, or are due to direct effects on the nervous system is not known.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Androgens / blood
  • Animals
  • Chorionic Gonadotropin / pharmacology*
  • Electric Fish / physiology*
  • Electric Organ / drug effects
  • Electric Organ / physiology*
  • Female
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones / blood
  • Male
  • Time Factors


  • Androgens
  • Chorionic Gonadotropin
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones