Natural cortisol production is not linked to the sexual fate of European sea bass

In this study, we aimed to investigate the relationship between cortisol and the determination of sexual fate in the commercially important European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax). To test our hypothesis, we designed two temperature-based experiments (19 ℃, 21 ℃ and 23 ℃, experiment 1; 16 ℃ and 21 ℃, experiment 2) to assess the effects of these thermal treatments on European sea bass sex determination and differentiation. In the fish from the first experiment, we evaluated whether blood cortisol levels and expression of stress key regulatory genes were different between differentiating (149 to 183 dph) males and females. In the second experiment, we assessed whether cortisol accumulated in scales over time during the labile period for sex determination as well as the neuroanatomical localisation of brain cells expressing brain aromatase (cyp19a1b) and corticotropin-releasing factor (crf) differed between males and females undergoing molecular sex differentiation (117 to 124 dph). None of the gathered results allowed to detect differences between males and females regarding cortisol production and regulatory mechanisms. Altogether, our data provide strong physiological, molecular and histochemical evidence, indicating that in vivo cortisol regulation has no major effects on the sex of European sea bass.


Sex determination, Sex differentiation, Temperature, Cortisol, European sea bass

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Goikoetxea Alexander, Servili Arianna, Houdelet Camille, Mouchel Olivier, Hermet Sophie, Clota Frederic, Aerts Johan, Fernandino Juan Ignacio, Allal Francois, Vandeputte Marc, Blondeau-Bidet Eva, Geffroy Benjamin (2022). Natural cortisol production is not linked to the sexual fate of European sea bass. Fish Physiology And Biochemistry. 48 (4). 1117-1135.,

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