Laboratory of Reproductive Biology, National Institute for Basic Biology, Okazaki, Japan.
ABSTRACT The pituitary-gonadal axis plays an important role in regulating gametogenesis in vertebrates. In most cases, gonadotropins act through the biosynthesis of gonadal steroid hormones which in turn mediate various stages of gametogenesis. A series of studies in our laboratory using several species of teleost fishes as experimental animals has provided new information about the endocrine regulation of gametogenesis, including oocyte growth, oocyte maturation, spermatogenesis and sperm maturation. This article briefly reviews our findings on the identification of steroidal mediators involved in each process of gametogenesis, and the sites and mechanisms of action of the mediators. These observations collectively demonstrate the appropriateness of using teleost fishes as valid models for examining hormonal influences on gametogenesis. Such models could also have applications and validity for vertebrates in general.