Dual in vitro effects of cortisol on cell turnover in the medaka esophagus via the glucocorticoid receptor

Chiyo Takagi, Hideya Takahashi, Hiroki Kudose, Kanoko Kato, Tatsuya Sakamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: Cortisol is a glucocorticoid in mammals, but has both gluco- and mineralocorticoid activities in teleost fish. Our previous in vivo studies on osmoregulatory esophagi of euryhaline fish showed that epithelial apoptosis for the simple epithelium in seawater and cell proliferation for the stratified epithelium in fresh water are both induced by cortisol. The aim of the present study was to examine the mechanism of these dual cortisol effects on esophageal cell turnover. Main methods: We developed a tissue culture method for the esophagus from euryhaline medaka (Oryzias latipes) and assessed cell proliferation and apoptosis in vitro in response to cortisol and 11-deoxycorticosterone (DOC), a recently identified agonist of the teleostean mineralocorticoid receptor. Key findings: Epithelial apoptosis, a well-established glucocorticoid function, was stimulated by treatment of the esophagus culture with 10 nM cortisol for 8 days, but no effects were seen at higher doses (100 and 1000 nM). In contrast, cell proliferation was induced by 1000 nM cortisol treatment for 8 days and this response was dose-dependent. Both effects were blocked by RU-486, a glucocorticoid receptor antagonist. DOC showed no significant effects at 10-1000 nM. Significance: In the esophageal epithelium in euryhaline fish, cortisol induces either apoptosis or cell proliferation via the glucocorticoid receptor, depending on the cortisol concentration. The glucocorticoid signaling may play a more important role than mineralocorticoid signaling in differentiation of the osmoregulatory esophagus in euryhaline fishes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-245
Number of pages7
JournalLife Sciences
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - Jan 31 2011


  • Apoptosis
  • Cell proliferation
  • Glucocorticoid
  • Mineralocorticoid
  • Oryzias latipes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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