Effects of melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH) and β-endorphin on lipid mobilization were examined in the rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Plasma levels of fatty acid (FA) were measured after intra-arterial administration of α-MSH, desacetyl-α-MSH, β-MSH, or β-endorphin through a cannula in the dorsal aorta. Desacetyl-α-MSH at 1 ng/g body weight resulted in an increase in plasma FA levels 1–3 hr after the injection, whereas the other three peptides showed no significant effect at the same dose. There was no significant change in plasma levels of cortisol after administration of any of the peptides. Lipolytic enzyme activity in the liver was significantly increased in a dose-related manner 1 hr after single intra-peritoneal injection of desacetyl-α-MSH. The direct effect of desacetyl-α-MSH on lipolysis was examined in liver slices incubated in vitro. Lipase activity in the liver slice was stimulated in the medium containing desacetyl-α-MSH in a dose-related manner. The results indicate that desacetyl-α-MSH is a potent stimulator of lipid mobilization in the rainbow trout.
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