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Effects of Post-spawning Ration Restriction on Reproductive Development and the Growth Hormone/Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 Axis in Female Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)

Nov 17, 2023


In iteroparous female salmonids, the growth and reproductive endocrine axes interact during the period after spawning. Energy depletion due to pre-spawn fasting, migration, and ovarian development must be restored, and the next reproductive cycle is initiated in consecutively maturing fish. In the natural environment, food availability is often limited during the post-spawn period. To investigate the growth and reproductive endocrinology of the post-spawn period, we sampled female rainbow trout over the 30 weeks following their first spawning. Fish were fasted for 2 months prior to spawning, then fed a standard or a restricted ration. Analysis was confined to reproductive fish. Plasma estradiol-17β decreased during the 8 weeks following spawning and then began increasing in both ration groups and was lower in feed-restricted versus standard ration fish from 8 weeks onward. Plasma insulin-like growth factor-1 increased over the same period and then remained constant in both ration groups and was lower in feed-restricted versus standard ration fish from week 8 to week 30. Plasma growth hormone decreased following spawning in standard ration fish and became elevated in feed-restricted versus standard ration fish at 20- and 30-weeks post-spawn. Growth rates, condition factor, and muscle lipid levels were higher in standard ration versus feed-restricted fish within 2-4 weeks after spawning. These results suggest that two phases occurred during the post-spawn period: recovery from spawning and restoration of energy reserves over weeks 0 to 8, followed by adjustment of the growth and reproductive endocrine axes to ration level over weeks 8 to 30.

Other keywords: Energetic status; Growth hormone; Insulin-like growth factor-I; Iteroparity; Reproductive decisions.


Laura Jenkins, Lea Medeiros, Diana Cervantes, James Nagler, and Andrew Pierce


Jenkins, L.E., L.R. Medeiros, D.L. Cervantes, J.J. Nagler, and A.L. Pierce. 2023. Effects of post-spawning ration restriction on reproductive development and the growth hormone/insulin-like growth factor-1 axis in female rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology 285:111510. Online at



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Journal Article