Growth performance, body composition and plasma thyroid hormone status of channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) in response to short-term feed deprivation and refeeding Academic Article uri icon


  • A 6-week feeding trial was conducted to investigate the effects of short-term feed deprivation on inducing compensatory growth and changes in thyroid hormone levels of channel catfish. Feeding treatments consisted of the following four regimes of 2-week duration: satiate feeding (control), no feed for 3 days then feeding to apparent satiation for the next 11 days, no feed for 5 days then feeding to apparent satiation for 9 days, and no feed for 7 days then feeding to apparent satiation for 7 days. These regimes were repeated three times over the 6-week trial in which 25 channel catfish fingerlings, initially averaging 15 g each, were stocked into each of 12, 38-1 glass aquaria supplied with supplemental aeration and flow-through water. Depriving fish of feed had a pronounced effect in that fish lost weight in as little as 3 days. Returning the fish to a satiate feeding regime caused a resumption of growth, equal to control growth only in the case of the 3-day deprived treatment, but all periods of feed deprivation failed to induce a period of catch-up growth adequate to compensate for previously lost weight. Feed efficiency also was not improved by the periods of feed deprivation, and restricting feed in excess of 3 days lowered feed efficiency. Fish condition indices were not altered at the termination of the trial. Muscle lipid, muscle protein and liver protein also were not different among feeding regimes. Liver lipid was elevated in fish deprived of feed for more than 3 days every 2 weeks. Plasma thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) were equally depressed by 3 days from the onset of feed deprivation. Both hormones rose significantly within 24 h of realimentation, with the greatest increase observed in animals subjected to the briefest feed deprivation. These results support a role for thyroid hormones in the promotion of growth in channel catfish. Whereas feed deprivation appears to rapidly reduce activity of the hypothalamo-pituitary-thyroid axis, the high correlation observed between T4 and T3 in all treatments suggests that peripheral deiodinating systems are capable of rapidly generating T3 from T4 upon realimentation. More rapid recovery of thyroid hormone production following realimentation may minimize the effects of feed deprivation on growth and feed efficiency of fish subjected to the 3-day deprivation treatment when compared to longer periods.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Gaylord, T. G., MacKenzie, D. S., & Gatlin, D. M.

citation count

  • 55

complete list of authors

  • Gaylord, TG||MacKenzie, DS||Gatlin, DM

publication date

  • January 2001