Neuropeptide-Y (NPY) has diverse physiological functions which are extensively studied in vertebrates. However, regulatory role of NPY in relation to brain ontogeny and recrudescence with reference to reproduction is less understood in fish. Present report for the first time evaluated the significance of NPY by transient esiRNA silencing and also analyzed its expression during brain development and gonadal recrudescence in the catfish, Clarias gariepinus. As a first step, full-length cDNA of NPY was cloned from adult catfish brain, which shared high homology with its counterparts from other teleosts upon phylogenetic analysis. Tissue distribution revealed dominant expression of NPY in brain and testis. NPY expression increased during brain development wherein the levels were higher in 100 and 150days post hatch females than the respective age-matched males. Seasonal cycle analysis showed high expression of NPY in brain during pre-spawning phase in comparison with other reproductive phases. Localization studies exhibited the presence of NPY, abundantly, in the regions of preoptic area, hypothalamus and pituitary. Transient silencing of NPY-esiRNA directly into the brain significantly decreased NPY expression in both the male and female brain of catfish which further resulted in significant decrease of transcripts of tryptophan hydroxylase 2, catfish gonadotropin-releasing hormone (cfGnRH), tyrosine hydroxylase and 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase in brain and luteinizing hormone-β/gonadotropin-II (lh-β/GTH-II) in pituitary exhibiting its influence on gonadal axis. In addition, significant decrease of several ovary-related transcripts was observed in NPY-esiRNA silenced female catfish, indicating the plausible role of NPY in ovary through cfGnRH-GTH axis.
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