Lipid accumulation in the ovaries of a marine shrimp Penaeus semisulcatus (De Haan)

T. Ravid, A. Tietz, M. Khayat, E. Boehm, R. Michelis, E. Lubzens*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


By the end of oocyte development, the ovaries of Penaeus semisulcatus have accumulated almost equal amounts (approximately 16 mg lipid g-1 protein) of phospholipids and triacylglycerols. The phospholipids consist mainly of phosphatidylcholine (75-80%) and phosphatidylethanolamine (20-25%). Approximately 30% of the total fatty acid content of both phospholipids and triacylglycerols is made up of polyunsaturated fatty acids. In fractions obtained by centrifugation of ovarian homogenates, most of the increase in levels of ovarian lipids during ovarian maturation was associated with an increase in triacylglycerol levels in the floating fat fraction and of phospholipids in the infranatant fraction. The presence of polyunsaturated fatty acids in the ovaries indicates the occurrence of lipid transport to the ovary during oocyte maturation. The gradual decrease in the relative abundance of polyunsaturated fatty acids as the ovaries matured supports previously published results suggesting intra-ovarian synthesis of saturated and mono-unsaturated fatty acids. Most of the lipids found in the female haemolymph (64.8%) were recovered in the high-density lipoprotein fraction after density ultracentrifugation. The haemocyanin fraction recovered from this stage of fractionation contained substantial amounts of lipid (16.8%) that could be removed by further sequential centrifugation at a higher NaBr density, leaving less than 0.9% of the total haemolymph lipids associated with this fraction. While 16.2% of the lipids were recovered from the very high-density lipoprotein fractions, these lipoproteins carried only 64-89 μg lipid mg-1 protein compared with 538.9 μg lipid mg-1 protein in the high-density lipoprotein fraction, indicating that the high-density lipoproteins are more likely to be the main transporters of lipids to the ovary. However, the contribution of very high-density lipoproteins to lipid transport cannot be ruled out at this stage. In this study, we present two models for lipid transport to the ovary based on the abundance of phospholipids and triacylglycerols in the haemolymph and on the amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids accumulated within the ovary during vitellogenesis.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1819-1829
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Haemolymph
  • High-density
  • Lipid
  • Lipoprotein
  • Ovary
  • Penaeus semisulcatus
  • Shrimp
  • Very high-density lipoprotein


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