Physiology and endocrinology of zinc accumulation during the female squirrelfish reproductive cycle

E. D. Thompson, G. D. Mayer, S. Balesaria, C. N. Glover, P. J. Walsh, C. Hogstrand

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Females of the squirrelfish family (Holocentridae) accumulate higher levels of hepatic zinc than any other studied animal. This accumulation is accompanied by high expression of the zinc-binding protein, metallothionein (MT), and is strongly correlated to the onset of sexual maturity. In an attempt to further characterize the timeframe of this accumulation, and to possibly discern any potential mediators, we examined the physiology and endocrinology of the yearly reproductive cycle of mature female squirrelfish. There are two separate reproductive events during the year in December-January and again in March-April, as evidenced by peaks in ovarian growth, VTG production, steroid levels, zinc accumulation and redistribution. Increased hepatic zinc seems to be preceded by a necessary increase in MT, but this was not clearly correlated to plasma 17β-estradiol, testosterone, or progesterone levels. The plasma zinc protein vitellogenin (VTG) is one, but probably not the predominant, vehicle for the transport of hepatic zinc to the ovary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)819-828
Number of pages10
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology -Part A : Molecular and Integrative Physiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr. 2003


  • 17β-Estradiol (E)
  • Fish
  • Liver
  • Metallothionein (MT)
  • Ovary
  • Reproduction
  • Sex steroids
  • Squirrelfish
  • Vitellogenin (VTG)
  • Zinc


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