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Effects of cortisol in zebrafish spermatogenesis as mean to understand the role of this steroid during thermal stress induced sex differentiation

Grant number: 15/12104-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2015
Effective date (End): July 31, 2016
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Biology
Principal researcher:Rafael Henrique Nóbrega
Grantee:Aline Gomes Melo
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IBB). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Botucatu. Botucatu , SP, Brazil


Gonochoristic vertebrates have two general mechanisms of sex determination: one named genetic (GSD) determined by sex chromosomes, and the other environmental (ESD), in which environmental parameters interfere in the sex differentiation process. In the environmental case, temperature is one of the main factors affecting gonadal differentiation in fishes, and this system is known as temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD). It has been demonstrated that higher water temperatures increases cortisol plasma levels in aquatic organisms as mark of stress condition. Thus, it is believed that increased levels of cortisol may be involved in the masculinization of TSD species, because the enzyme (Hsd11b2) which metabolizes the cortisol can also generate androgens, depending on the metabolic pathway. In this context, the project aims to evaluate the effects of cortisol in zebrafish (Danio rerio) spermatogenesis in order to elucidate the possible mechanisms of cortisol during masculinization induced by temperature. To achieve that, gene expression and morphological analysis will be performed in zebrafish testes explants treated with different concentrations of cortisol. The molecular and hormonal data may elucidate the physiological mechanisms underlying gonadal sex differentiation in zebrafish, as well as to generate biotechnologies for masculinization of aquaculture species, when the male has greater economic value, or when the monosex population culture is more viable. From an environmental perspective, it will provide new information for understanding physiological impact in the aquatic organisms due to the gradual increase of water temperature (global warming). (AU)

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
TOVO-NETO, ALDO; MARTINEZ, EMANUEL R. M.; MELO, ALINE G.; DORETTO, LUCAS B.; BUTZGE, ARNO J.; RODRIGUES, MAIRA S.; NAKAJIMA, RAFAEL T.; HABIBI, HAMID R.; NOBREGA, RAFAEL H.. Cortisol Directly Stimulates Spermatogonial Differentiation, Meiosis, and Spermiogenesis in Zebrafish (Danio rerio) Testicular Explants. BIOMOLECULES, v. 10, n. 3, . (14/07620-7, 14/16280-5, 13/22778-3, 17/15793-7, 16/12101-4, 15/12104-0, 17/09218-0)
BRANCO, GIOVANA SOUZA; MELO, ALINE GOMES; RICCI, JULIANA M. B.; DIGMAYER, MELANIE; DE JESUS, LAZARO W. O.; HABIBI, HAMID R.; NOBREGA, RAFAEL HENRIQUE. Effects of GnRH and the dual regulatory actions of GnIH in the pituitary explants and brain slices of Astyanax altiparanae males. General and Comparative Endocrinology, v. 273, n. SI, p. 209-217, . (14/07620-7, 13/20450-0, 15/12104-0)

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