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© 2016 Elsevier Inc. Polyamines are a family of low molecular weight organic cations produced in part by the coordinated actions of arginase II (Arg II) and ornithine decarboxylase (Odc). Although gill polyamine homeostasis is affected by acute transfer to fresh water, little is known of its function in fish osmoregulation. The current study investigated the role of polyamines in the compensatory response of hypoosmotic challenge in the euryhaline fish, Fundulus grandis. Adult F. grandis were acclimated to 5ppt water, transferred abruptly to 5, 2, 1, 0.5 and 0.1 ppt water, and assessed for osmoregulatory function, gill morphology, and polyamine homeostasis. The plasma osmolality, Na+ concentration, and Cl- concentration were only significantly reduced during exposure to salinities at or below 0.5 ppt, although these effects were transient except in the 0.1ppt treatment. The phenotype of mitochondrion-rich cells (MRCs) shifted from a seawater-type to a freshwater-type only at salinities that also produced a plasma osmotic disturbance. Hypoosmotic exposure increased the concentrations of putrescine, spermidine, and spermine in the gill over the entire 7day period. Exposure to 0.1ppt water also transiently increased gill caspase-3 activity and gill mRNA levels of the immediate-early response genes, c-fos and c-myc, thus tightly associating polyamines with gill remodeling during freshwater acclimation. Furthermore, arginase II and ornithine decarboxylase mRNA levels were most highly expressed in MRCs, and these levels were further increased only in the 0.1ppt treatment. Reduction of gill polyamine levels following administration of the Odc inhibitor, alpha-dl-difluoromethylornithine (DFMO), inhibited gill caspase-3 activity, but surprisingly reduced the magnitude of the plasma osmotic imbalance elicited by exposure to 0.1ppt water. We used isolated opercular epithelia mounted on Ussing chambers to assess the influence of polyamines on the attenuating response of hypotonic shock on active Cl- secretion. Spermidine partially reduced the decrease of short-circuit current (Isc) and membrane conductance (Gt) produced by hypotonic exposure. These data suggest polyamines blunt the hypotonic inhibition of NaCl secretion and may lead to early apoptosis of seawater ionocytes and their replacement by FW-type ionocytes.

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Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part - B: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

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