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Clock-Controlled Endogenous Melatonin Rhythms in Nile Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus niloticus) and African Catfish (Clarias gariepinus)

Martinez-Chavez CC, Al‐Khamees S, Campos-Mendoza A, Penman D & Migaud H (2008) Clock-Controlled Endogenous Melatonin Rhythms in Nile Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus niloticus) and African Catfish (Clarias gariepinus), Chronobiology International, 25 (1), pp. 31-49.

The purpose of this work was to investigate the circadian melatonin system in two tropical teleost species characterized by different behavioral habits, Nile tilapia (diurnal) and African catfish (nocturnal). To do so, fish were subjected to either a control photoperiod (12L:12D), continuous light (LL) or darkness (DD), or a 6L:6D photoperiod. Under 12L:12D, plasma melatonin levels were typically low during the photophase and high during the scotophase in both species. Interestingly, in both species, melatonin levels significantly decreased prior to the onset of light, which in catfish reached similar basal levels to those during the day, demonstrating that melatonin production can anticipate photic changes probably through circadian clocks. Further evidence for the existence of such pacemaker activity was obtained when fish were exposed to DD, as a strong circadian melatonin rhythm was maintained. Such an endogenous rhythm was sustained for at least 18 days in Nile tilapia. A similar rhythm was shown in catfish, although DD was only tested for four days. Under LL, the results confirmed the inhibitory effect of light on melatonin synthesis already reported in other species. Finally, when acclimatized to a short photo-cycle (6L:6D), no endogenous melatonin rhythm was observed in tilapia under DD, with melatonin levels remaining high. This could suggest that the circadian clocks cannot entrain to such a short photocycle. Additional research is clearly needed to further characterize the circadian axis in teleost species, identify and localize the circadian clocks, and better understand the environmental entrainment of fish physiology.

Melatonin; Oscillator; Pineal; Tilapia; Catfish

Subject headings
Nile tilapia; Catfishes; Circadian rhythms; Photoperiodism

AuthorsMartinez-Chavez Carlos Christian, Al‐Khamees Sammi, Campos-Mendoza Antonio, Penman David, Migaud Herve
Publication date01/2008
PublisherTaylor & Francis (Informa Healthcare)
ISSN 0742-0528

Chronobiology International: Volume 25, Issue 1 (2008-01)

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