Ovarian developmental stages and serum steroid hormone levels were examined at six different times of day (0100, 0600, 1000, 1300, 1600, 2000 h) in a marine teleost, the Japanese whiting Sillago japonica, which has an asynchronous-type ovary containing oocytes at various stages of development and spawns every day during a period ranging up to three months. The largest oocytes in the ovaries at the active vitellogenic or post-vitellogenic stages were found between 0100 and 1300 h. Oocyte maturation indicated by germinal vesicle breakdown (GVBD) occurred at 1600 h, and ovulated oocytes were observed in the ovaries collected at 2000 h. These processes were accompanied by a significant daily change in serum steroid hormone levels. The serum level of estradiol-17β showed a peak in fish with mature oocytes sampled at 1600 h. In these fish, the second-largest oocytes in the ovaries were at the initial stage of vigorous vitellogenesis, the secondary yolk stage. Therefore the highest level of serum estradiol-17β was considered to be due to the second-largest oocytes. Testosterone levels remained low and constant throughout the experimental period. The serum levels of 17α,20β-dihydroxy-4-pregnen-3-one (17α,20β-diOHprog) peaked at 1600 h at which time all fish had mature oocytes. These results indicate that the Japanese whiting possesses a diurnal rhythm of oocyte development including vitellogenesis, oocyte maturation and ovulation, and further suggest that daily cycles in oocyte growth and maturation which simultaneously take place in an ovary are regulated by diurnal secretions of estradiol-17β and the maturation-inducing steroid, 17α,20β-diOHprog.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Aquatic Science