Photoperiod effects on the expression of kisspeptin and gonadotropin genes in Atlantic cod, Gadus morhua, during first maturation

M. Cowan, A. Davie, H. Migaud

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In order to investigate the potential role of the kisspeptin system in the entrainment of reproduction in Atlantic cod, qPCR assays were developed for kiss2 and its receptor kissr4. mRNA expression was monitored in the brain over a full reproductive cycle in 2 populations of males and females: 1) a maturing population (exposed to simulated natural photoperiod, SNP) and 2) a maturation inhibited population (exposed to constant light, LL). Pituitary expression of gonadotropin subunit mRNA (fshβ and lhβ) was also measured. Results from this study indicated no clear temporal pattern in expression of kiss2 or kissr4 mRNAs in either population of cod, however acute elevations were apparent in maturing (SNP) individuals, namely an elevation in kiss2 in vitellogenic females and spermiating males and spikes in kissr4 during early vitellogenesis in females and spermatogenesis in males. Gonadotropin mRNA expression displayed strong amplitudinal changes over time with fshβ and lhβ mRNA expression increasing towards spawning in maturing individuals. No firm conclusions on the role of the kisspeptin system in cod puberty can be drawn at this stage, however mRNA increases in kiss2 and kissr4 may elude to conserved kisspeptin functions in cod and opens up interesting avenues on potential gender specific functions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-94
Number of pages13
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology - Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology
Issue number1
Early online date18 May 2012
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012



  • Atlantic cod
  • Brain
  • Continuous light
  • Kisspeptin
  • Maturation

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