Environmental hypertonicity causes induction of gluconeogenesis in the air-breathing singhi catfish, Heteropneustes fossilis.
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The air-breathing singhi catfish (Heteropneustes fossilis) is frequently being challenged by different environmental insults such as hyper-ammonia, dehydration and osmotic stresses in their natural habitats throughout the year. The present study investigated the effect of hyperosmotic stress, due to exposure to hypertonic environment (300 mM mannitol) for 14 days, on gluconeogenesis in this catfish. In situ exposure to hypertonic environment led to significant stimulation of gluconeogenic fluxes from the perfused liver after 7 days of exposure, followed by further increase after 14 days in presence of three different potential gluconeogenic substrates (lactate, pyruvate and glutamate). Environmental hypertonicity also caused a significant increase of activities of key gluconeogenic enzymes, namely phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase, fructose 1, 6-bisphosphatase and glucose 6-phosphatase by about 2-6 fold in liver, and 3-6 fold in kidney tissues. This was accompanied by more abundance of enzyme proteins by about 1.8-3.7 fold and mRNAs by about 2.2-5.2 fold in both the tissues with a maximum increase after 14 days of exposure. Hence, the increase in activities of key gluconeogenic enzymes under hypertonic stress appeared to be as a result of transcriptional regulation of genes. Immunocytochemical analysis further confirmed the tissue specific localized expression of these enzymes in both the tissues with the possibility of expressing more in the same localized places. The induction of gluconeogenesis during exposure to environmental hypertonicity possibly occurs as a consequence of changes in hydration status/cell volume of different cell types. Thus, these adaptational strategies related to gluconeogenesis that are observed in this catfish under hypertonic stress probably help in maintaining glucose homeostasis and also for a proper energy supply to support metabolic demands mainly for ion transport and other altered metabolic processes under various environmental hypertonic stress-related insults.