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Zebrafish upregulate cortisol catabolism as a neuroprotective coping mechanism in response to waterborne cortisol exposure

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Title: Zebrafish upregulate cortisol catabolism as a neuroprotective coping mechanism in response to waterborne cortisol exposure
Author: Bernards, Mark
Department: Department of Integrative Biology
Program: Integrative Biology
Advisor: Bernier, Nicholas
Abstract: The biology of chronic stress is a subject of interest due to its proposed negative consequences, including deficits to neurological welfare. To isolate the effects of chronic stress-induced elevated cortisol on neurogenesis, we developed a system that continuously exposed zebrafish to exogenous cortisol. We found that waterborne cortisol elicits small, transient increases in neurogenesis-related genes in the forebrain but no sustained effects. Though whole-body cortisol did not change, the exposure regime resulted in rapid, dose-dependent, and sustained increases in the forebrain gene expression of cortisol catabolic enzymes and whole-body levels of an inactive cortisol metabolite 20-dihydrocortisone. Differences in corticosteroid receptor expression – sequential, transient increase and decrease in both gr and mr and delayed, sustained decrease in gr – suggest differential involvement in the stress response. Overall, we provide a basis for developing a temporal map of chronic stress in zebrafish and highlight their impressive capacity for cortisol catabolism and neuroprotection in response to exogenous cortisol.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/12609
Date: 2018-03


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