Cortisol is the major corticosteroid in teleost fish, secreted and released by interrenal cells of the head kidney during activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-interrenal (HPI) axis. Although cortisol is universally recognized as a key mediator of stress-associated responses, other hormones are also involved in the stress response, e.g., arginine vasotocin (AVT), isotocin (IT), urotensins, dopamine, serotonin or β-endorphin. Cortisol affects AVT and IT secretion from nerve endings in gilthead sea bream (Sparus aurata) and round goby (Neogobius melanostomus). Moreover, it is pointed out that different mechanisms are involved in the regulation of AVT and IT release from the hypothalamic-pituitary complex in round goby. In the case of AVT, both genomic and nongenomic pathways are mediating the effect of cortisol while in the case of IT, it is only the nongenomic pathway. In turn, urotensin I instead of corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) may contribute to the regulation of HPI axis and regulate AVT in Sparus aurata. In this species, urotensin II together with AVT and IT may control stress response to different salinities. Therefore, AVT, IT and urotensins, and their interactions with cortisol, seem to be significant in response to stress in fish.
Part of the book: Corticosteroids