Osmoregulatory actions of growth hormone and its mode of action in salmonids: A review

Tatsuya Sakamoto, Stephen D. McCormick, Tetsuya Hirano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

206 Citations (Scopus)


Osmoregulatory actions of growth hormone (GH) and its mode of action in salmonids are reviewed. We present evidence suggesting that insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) mediates some of the actions of GH on seawater acclimation. Plasma concentration and turnover of GH rise following exposure to seawater. Exogenous GH (in vivo) increases gill Na+,K+-ATPase activity and the number of gill chloride cells, and inhibits an increase in plasma osmolarity and ions following transfer of fish to seawater. A single class of high affinity GH receptors is present in the liver, gill, intestine, and kidney. The levels of IGF-I mRNA in the liver, gill and kidney increased after GH-injection. After transfer to seawater, IGF-I mRNA increased in the gill and kidney following the rise in plasma GH, although no significant change was seen in the liver. Injection of IGF-I improved the ability of the fish to maintain plasma sodium levels after transfer to seawater. GH treatment also sensitizes the interrenal to adrenocorticotropin (ACTH), increasing cortisol secretion. Both cortisol and IGF-I may be involved in mediating the action of GH in seawater adaptation, although studies on the effect of GH on osmoregulatory physiology of non-salmonid species are limited. An integrated model of the osmoregulatory actions of GH is presented, and areas in need of research are outlined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-164
Number of pages10
JournalFish Physiology and Biochemistry
Issue number1-6
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • cortisol
  • growth hormone
  • growth hormone receptor
  • insuline-like growth factor I
  • mode of action
  • osmoregulation
  • salmonids
  • seawater adaptation
  • thyroid hormones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Aquatic Science


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