Cortisol is the principal corticosteriod in teleost fishes and its plasma concentrations rise dramatically during stress. The relationship between this cortisol increase and its metabolic consequences are subject to extensive debate. Much of this debate arises from the different responses of the many species used, the diversity of approaches to manipulate cortisol levels, and the sampling techniques and duration. Given the extreme differences in experimental approach, it is not surprising that inconsistencies exist within the literature. This review attempts to delineate common themes on the physiological and metabolic roles of cortisol in teleost fishes and to suggest new approaches that might overcome some of the inconsistencies on the role of this multifaceted hormone. We detail the dynamics of cortisol, especially the exogenous and endogenous factors modulating production, clearance and tissue availability of the hormone. We focus on the mechanisms of action, the biochemical and physiological impact, and the interaction with other hormones so as to provide a conceptual framework for cortisol under resting and/or stressed states. Interpretation of interactions between cortisol and other glucoregulatory hormones is hampered by the absence of adequate hormone quantification, resulting in correlative rather than causal relationships.
Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 15, 2004
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