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Appetite-Controlling Endocrine Systems in Teleosts

Journal article
Authors I. Ronnestad
A. S. Gomes
K. Murashita
R. Angotzi
Elisabeth Jönsson
H. Volkoff
Published in Frontiers in Endocrinology
Volume 8
ISSN 1664-2392
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Language en
Keywords appetite control, feed intake, hormones, neuropeptides, teleosts, adaptations, fasting, voracious, melanin-concentrating hormone, trout oncorhynchus-mykiss, goldfish, carassius-auratus, messenger-rna expression, neuropeptide-y npy, regulated transcript cart, agouti-related protein, cod gadus-morhua, halibut hippoglossus-hippoglossus, zebrafish danio-rerio, Endocrinology & Metabolism
Subject categories Endocrinology and Diabetes


Mammalian studies have shaped our understanding of the endocrine control of appetite and body weight in vertebrates and provided the basic vertebrate model that involves central (brain) and peripheral signaling pathways as well as environmental cues. The hypothalamus has a crucial function in the control of food intake, but other parts of the brain are also involved. The description of a range of key neuropeptides and hormones as well as more details of their specific roles in appetite control continues to be in progress. Endocrine signals are based on hormones that can be divided into two groups: those that induce (orexigenic), and those that inhibit (anorexigenic) appetite and food consumption. Peripheral signals originate in the gastrointestinal tract, liver, adipose tissue, and other tissues and reach the hypothalamus through both endocrine and neuroendocrine actions. While many mammalian-like endocrine appetite-controlling networks and mechanisms have been described for some key model teleosts, mainly zebrafish and goldfish, very little knowledge exists on these systems in fishes as a group. Fishes represent over 30,000 species, and there is a large variability in their ecological niches and habitats as well as life history adaptations, transitions between life stages and feeding behaviors. In the context of food intake and appetite control, common adaptations to extended periods of starvation or periods of abundant food availability are of particular interest. This review summarizes the recent findings on endocrine appetite-controlling systems in fish, highlights their impact on growth and survival, and discusses the perspectives in this research field to shed light on the intriguing adaptations that exist in fish and their underlying mechanisms.

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