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Understanding the adaptive response in vertebrates: the phenomenon of ease and ease response during post-stress acclimation

Subhash Peter, M.C.

General and Comparative Endocrinology 181: 59-64

2013


ISSN/ISBN: 1095-6840
PMID: 23063668
DOI: 10.1016/j.ygcen.2012.09.016
Accession: 037485143

Vertebrates have evolved mechanisms to perceive stressors that arise either from their body or from the environment. Consequently, a state of stress and stress response occur in fish which is characterized by a disturbed physiological homeostasis. The pattern of stress response becomes complex as a result of neuroendocrine involvement and shows varied magnitudes in fishes depending on the nature and the severity of stressors. The integrated and compensatory physiological modifications in fishes during their early phase of adaptive response favor them to accommodate the imposed stressor through the process of stress acclimation. In contrast, with the direction of neuroendocrine signals, a phase of recovery often called post-stress acclimation occurs if the animal gets away from the stressor exposure. During this late phase of adaptive response, physiological modifications operate in favor of the animal that reduces the magnitude of stress response and finally to a phase of normality as animals possess the urge to correct its disrupted homeostasis. The phenomenon of ease and its response thus reduces the allostatic load, resets the homeostatic state through physiologic processes and corrects the stress-induced homeostatic disturbance with the aid of neuroendocrine signals. Ample evidences are now available to support this novel concept of ease and ease response where mitigation of the intensity of stress response occurs physiologically. Treatment of fish with melatonin or serotonin precursor tryptophan can modify the magnitude of stress response as evident in the pattern of tested physiological indices. In addition to cortisol, thyroid hormone as a major stress modifier hormone is involved in the regulation of ease response in fish probably due to the mechanisms involving inter-hormonal interference. Understanding the mechanisms of adaptive responses in vertebrates thus warranties more studies on the physiology of ease and its response.

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