This study investigates the effect of corticosteroid (cortisol) administration on the stress response of the gilthead sea bream Sparus aurata subjected to a 48 h confinement. The effect of (in-vitro and in-vivo) cortisol administration on the in-vitro ACTH sensitivity of the interrenal tissue; the plasma levels and tissue concentration of cortisol; and the plasma levels of ACTH, α-MSH, β-endorphin and glucose were determined. Confinement caused a transient and concomitant increase in plasma cortisol and ACTH levels. However, in cortisol-fed fish the plasma ACTH levels were lower, indicating a suppression of the ACTH release from the corticotropes by cortisol. In contrast to the activation of the corticotropes, the levels of plasma melanotrope derived peptides were not affected. In spite of the fact that interrenal cells of cortisol-fed gilthead sea bream released less cortisol than controls, the interrenal sensitivity to ACTH was not affected by in-vivo and in-vitro cortisol administration. This suggests that the interrenal sensitivity to ACTH in stressed (confinement) sea bream is probably not regulated by α-MSH, N-ac-β-END, or by cortisol. Thus, in gilthead sea bream the interrenal sensitivity to ACTH could be regulated at the hypothalamus and/or pituitary and communicated via circulating ACTH levels.
- Cortisol oral administration
- Interrenal ACTH sensitivity