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NEUROBASS — Result In Brief

Project ID: 331964
Funded under: FP7-PEOPLE
Country: Spain

New insights into environmental cues and fish reproduction

European Aquaculture sustainability is enhanced thanks to an EU-funded initiative that investigated novel neuropeptide systems as mediators between environment and reproduction in the European sea bass.
New insights into environmental cues and fish reproduction
The project NEUROBASS (Acquiring competencies in neuroendocrinology by an aquaculture researcher through investigating gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone & kisspeptin as mediators between environmental cues & fish reproduction) investigated whether gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone (GnIH) and kisspeptin systems can mediate the effects of environmental factors on the neuroendocrine and endocrine systems governing reproduction in the European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax).

Two research sub-projects were conducted using a multi-targeted approach, combining neuroanatomical, ex vivo, in vivo and molecular studies. The first study investigated the potential interaction of the environmental synchroniser, light, and its transducer neurohormone, melatonin, with the GnIH and kisspeptin neuroendocrine systems. The second study explored the potential interaction of the GnIH and kisspeptin systems with gonadotropin-releasing hormone, gonadotropic and gonadal systems.

Results confirmed the hypothesis that GnIH and kisspeptin neuroendocrine systems can act as mediators between the input of light from the environment and reproduction. NEUROBASS demonstrated the integration of both systems in the complex photoneuroendocrine axis including their link to light sensing in the retina and the pineal organ.

Seasonal differences were observed in the GnIH system and to a lesser extent in the kisspeptin system. Therefore, it is likely that the combined systems help convert the seasonal shift in daylight to a physiological change in reproduction. In addition, following results on the effects of GnIH on the gonads, it was suggested that GnIH works at all three levels of the reproductive axis: the brain, pituitary gland and gonads.

The findings can be used to optimise the light environment to promote reproduction in sea bass. They can also help towards inhibiting sexual maturity when it results in a significant decrease in body growth and a potential release of gametes to the wild. Both scenarios have major economic consequences; therefore, it is of great interest to develop techniques for the nanoencapsulation of GnIH for non-invasive and environmentally friendly administration.

NEUROBASS contributed to EU research and excellence by providing detailed scientific knowledge regarding key reproductive issues in the aquaculture industry. In addition to sea bass, project findings have the potential to be applied to other commercially important species of fish such as gilthead seabream and tuna.

Related information


Environmental cues, fish reproduction, aquaculture, gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone, kisspeptin
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