Metabolic hormones and the regulation of spermatogenesis in fishes

Theriogenology. 2019 Aug:134:121-128. doi: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2019.05.021. Epub 2019 May 28.


Metabolic hormones play essential regulatory roles in many biological processes, including morphogenesis, growth, and reproduction through the maintenance of energy balance. Various metabolic hormones originally discovered in mammals, including ghrelin, leptin, and nesfatin-1 have been identified and characterized in fish. However, physiological roles of these metabolic hormones in regulating reproduction are largely unknown in fishes, especially in males. While the information available is restricted, this review attempts to summarize the main findings on the roles of metabolic peptides on the reproductive system in male fishes with an emphasis on testicular development and spermatogenesis. Specifically, the primary goal is to review the physiological interactions between hormones that regulate reproduction and hormones that regulate metabolism as a critical determinant of testicular function. A brief introduction to the localization of metabolic hormones in fish testis is also provided. Besides, the consequences of fasting and food deprivation on testicular development and sperm quality will be discussed with a focus on interactions between metabolic and reproductive hormones.

Keywords: Hypothalamus-pituitary-testis axis; Neuroendocrine hormones; Peripheral hormones; Sex steroids; Spermatogenesis; Testis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Fishes / physiology*
  • Ghrelin / metabolism
  • Ghrelin / physiology
  • Hormones / metabolism
  • Hormones / physiology*
  • Leptin / metabolism
  • Leptin / physiology
  • Male
  • Neuropeptides / metabolism
  • Neuropeptides / physiology
  • Spermatogenesis*
  • Spermatozoa / growth & development
  • Spermatozoa / physiology
  • Thyroid Hormones / metabolism
  • Thyroid Hormones / physiology


  • Ghrelin
  • Hormones
  • Leptin
  • Neuropeptides
  • Thyroid Hormones