Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract The accumulation of immunoreactive corticosteroids in the bile of rainbow trout during stress was monitored by radioimmunoassay and GUMS. Although plasma cortisol levels were elevated by confinement for 1 hour, biliary levels of free and conjugated steroids in the bile were unaffected. However, after 24 hours confinement, in addition to elevated plasma cortisol levels, free and conjugated steroids in the bile were also significantly higher than in control, unstressed fish. The time-course of change in plasma and biliary corticosteroid levels was determined in rainbow trout subject to 96 hours confinement stress. Free steroid levels in the bile of stressed fish were elevated within 2 hours of the onset of stress, while levels of conjugated steroids were significantly elevated within 4 hours of the onset of confinement. Analysis of bile from stressed fish, by GC/MS, established the major conjugated steroids present to be tetrahydrocortisone (230 μg ml−1 bile), tetrahydrocortisol (75 μg ml−1), cortisone (33.5 μg ml−1), cortisol (25 μg ml−1) and β-cortolone (5 μg ml−1). The data are discussed with reference to the role of cortisone and conjugating enzymes in the clearance of cortisol, and further data are presented to suggest that the analysis of biliary steroid content may provide a suitable means of identifying stressed fish under conditions in which an additional sampling stress is unavoidable.
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