Serotonin (i.e., 5-hydroxytryptamine [5-HT]) plays a key role in stress responses in vertebrates. In mammals and teleosts, tryptophan hydroxylase (Tph), a rate-limiting enzyme in the biosynthesis of 5-HT, includes two paralogs: Tph 1 and Tph 2. The response of the Tphs to stress has been reported in mammals, but less is known about the responses of these enzymes to stress in fish. In the present study, we examined whether heat stress affects the mRNA expression of these Tphs in the brain of medaka fish (Oryzias latipes). We also determined the concentration of 5-HT in the brain, the mRNA expression of heat shock protein 90 alpha (Hsp90α) in the liver, plasma cortisol concentration, and blood glucose concentration in medaka. Whole-body exposure to repeated heat stress significantly decreased the mRNA expression of Tph1 and Tph2 in male and female medaka, whereas single heat stress did not affect the expression of either of the mRNAs. The 5-HT concentration also decreased significantly after repeated heat stress sessions in both sexes, but did not decrease after a single heat stress session. After single and repeated heat stress sessions, Hsp90α mRNA expression increased in both sexes; however, increments in the concentrations of plasma cortisol and blood glucose occurred in male, but not in female, medaka. These results suggest that both types of Tphs are involved in reducing 5-HT in the brain and are reliable indicators of chronic stress response in both sexes. However, stress responses in plasma cortisol and blood glucose concentrations differ between male and female medaka.
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Vol. 36 • No. 3