Pradhan, A., Olsson, P.E. (2015) Zebrafish sexual behavior: role of sex steroid hormones and prostaglandins. Behavioral and brain functions : BBF. 11:23.
Background Mating behavior differ between sexes and involves gonadal hormones and possibly sexually dimorphic gene expression in the brain. Sex steroids and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) have been shown to regulate mammalian sexual behavior. The present study was aimed at determining whether exposure to sex steroids and prostaglandins could alter zebrafish sexual mating behavior.
Methods Mating behavior and successful spawning was recorded following exposure to 17β-estradiol (E2), 11-ketotestosterone (11-KT), prostaglandin D2 (PGD2) and PGE2 via the water. qRT-PCR was used to analyze transcript levels in the forebrain, midbrain, and hindbrain of male and female zebrafish and compared to animals exposed to E2 via the water.
Results Exposure of zebrafish to sex hormones resulted in alterations in behavior and spawning when male fish were exposed to E2 and female fish were exposed to 11-KT. Exposure to PGD2, and PGE2 did not alter mating behavior or spawning success. Determination of gene expression patterns of selected genes from three brain regions using qRT-PCR analysis demonstrated that the three brain regions differed in gene expression pattern and that there were differences between the sexes. In addition, E2 exposure also resulted in altered gene transcription profiles of several genes.
Conclusions Exposure to sex hormones, but not prostaglandins altered mating behavior in zebrafish. The expression patterns of the studied genes indicate that there are large regional and gender-based differences in gene expression and that E2 treatment alter the gene expression pattern in all regions of the brain.