Do reproductive hormones control Gulf toadfish pulsatile urea excretion?

Maria C. Cartolano, Yi Chng, M. Danielle McDonald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Gulf toadfish (Opsanus beta) can excrete the majority of their nitrogenous waste as urea in distinct pulses across their gill. Urea pulses are controlled by cortisol and serotonin (5-HT) and are believed to contain chemical signals that may communicate reproductive and/or social status. The objectives of this study were to determine if reproductive hormones are involved in controlling pulsatile urea excretion, and if toadfish respond to prostaglandins as a chemical signal. Specifically, 11-ketotestosterone (11-KT), estradiol (E2), and the teleost pheromone prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) were investigated. Castration during breeding season did not affect pulsatile urea excretion but serial injections of 11-KT outside of breeding season did result in a 48% reduction in urea pulse size in fish of both sexes. Injections of E2 and PGE2, on the other hand, did not alter urea excretion patterns. Toadfish also did not pulse urea in response to waterborne exposure of PGE2 suggesting that this compound does not serve as a toadfish pheromone alone. Toadfish have significantly higher plasma 5-HT during breeding season compared to the months following breeding season. Future research should focus on the composition of the chemical signal in toadfish and the potential importance of seasonal changes in plasma 5-HT in toadfish pulsatile urea excretion and teleost reproduction in general.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110561
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology -Part A : Molecular and Integrative Physiology
StatePublished - Dec 2019


  • 11-ketotestosterone
  • 5-HT
  • Castration
  • Estradiol
  • GSI
  • Opsanus beta
  • Prostagladin E

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology


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