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Assessment of spermatogenesis and plasma sex steroids in a seasonal breeding teleost: a comparative study in an area of influence of a tributary, downstream from a hydroelectric power dam, Brazil

Domingos, FabricioF. T., Thomé, RalphG., Arantes, FabioP., Castro, AntonioCarlos S., Sato, Yoshimi, Bazzoli, Nilo, Rizzo, Elizete
Fish physiology and biochemistry 2012 v.38 no.6 pp. 1709-1719
Prochilodus, breeding, cell death, cell proliferation, environmental factors, fish, gonadosomatic index, hydroelectric power, males, physicochemical properties, plant reproduction, power plants, proliferating cell nuclear antigen, reproduction, rivers, seasonal variation, spermatocytes, spermatogenesis, steroids, testosterone, water quality, Brazil
River damming and building of hydroelectric power plants interrupt the reproductive migration routes and change the major physicochemical parameters of water quality, with drastic consequences for populations of migratory fishes. The goal of this study was to evaluate proliferation and cell death during spermatogenesis and serum profiles of sex steroids in Prochilodus argenteus, from the São Francisco River, downstream from the Três Marias Dam. A total of 257 adult males were caught quarterly during a reproductive cycle in two sites: the first 34 km of the river after the dam (site 1) and the second 34–54 km after the dam (site 2), after the confluence with a tributary, the Abaeté River. Seasonal changes in the testicular activity associated with morphometric analyses of germ cells as well as proliferation and testicular apoptosis support a more active spermatogenesis in fish from site 2, where higher levels of sex steroids and gonadosomatic index (GSI) were also found. In site 1, fish presented low serum levels of testosterone, 17β-estradiol and 17α-hydroxyprogesterone and a low GSI during gonadal maturation. Spermatogonial proliferation (PCNA) and apoptosis (TUNEL) were more elevated in fish from site 1, but spermatocytes were mainly labelled in fish from site 2. Overall, these data demonstrate changes in testicular activity and plasma sex steroids in a neotropical teleost fish living downstream from a hydroelectric dam, supplying new data on fish reproduction in regulated rivers. Moreover, morphometric analyses associated with sex steroids profiles provide reliable tools to assess fish spermatogenesis under environmental stress conditions.