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Journal: Fish & shellfish immunology


A hemocyte primary culture system for Pomacea canaliculata in a medium mimicking hemolymphatic plasma composition was developed. Hemocytes adhered and spread onto culture dish in the first few hours after seeding but later began forming aggregates. Time lapse video microscopy showed the dynamics of the early aggregation, with cells both entering and leaving the aggregates. During this period phagocytosis occurs and was quantified. Later (>4 h), hemocytes formed large spheroidal aggregates that increased in size and also merged with adjacent spheroids (24-96 h). Large single spheroids and spheroid aggregates detach from the bottom surface and float freely in the medium. Correlative confocal, transmission electron and phase contrast microscopy showed a peculiar organization of the spheroids, with a compact core, an intermediate zone with large extracellular lacunae and an outer zone of flattened cells; also, numerous round cells emitting cytoplasmic extensions were seen attaching to the spheroids' smooth surface. Dual DAPI/propidium iodide staining revealed the coexistence of viable and non-viable cells within aggregates, in varying proportions. DNA concentration increased during the first 24 h of culture and stabilized afterward. BrdU incorporation also indicated proliferation. Spontaneous spheroid formation in culture bears interesting parallels with spheroidal hemocyte aggregates found in vivo in P.canaliculata, and also with spheroids formed by tumoral or non-tumoral mammalian cells in vitro.

Concepts: Cell, Microscope, In vivo, In vitro, Ampullariidae, Phase-contrast imaging, Spheroid, Time-lapse


Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are the commonest mode of genetic variation in invertebrate immune-related genes. Hemocyanin presents in the hemolymph of both mollusks and arthropods and functions as an important antigen non-specific immune protein. But people know very little about its gene polymorphism so far. In current study, bioinformatics, molecular biology and environmental challenge approaches were used to identify the SNPs within hemocyanin Ig-like domain in shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei. A total of 11 SNPs were found in a variable region of Ig-like domain from L. vannamei hemocyanin large subunit (1258-1460 bp, HcLV1), 5 of which (1272, 1315, 1380, 1410 and 1450) were confirmed present in both genomic DNA and cDNA by clone sequencing. Furthermore, HcLV1 showed 3, 5 and 5 SSCP bands, respectively, in 16, 25 and 30oC-treated shrimps, suggesting that the SSCP pattern of HcLV1 could be modulated by environmental stress. In addition, HcLV1 displayed two extra bands with different mobility when shrimps treated with Vibrio parahaemolyticus for 6 to 24 h, which was not observed in the control group. In conclusion, our data suggest that shrimp L. vannamei hemocyanin Ig-like domain possesses SNPs, which may be associated with environmental stress or pathogenic challenge.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Gene, Genetics, Bioinformatics, Bacteria, Molecular biology, Arthropod


Alpha-2-macroglobulin (α-2-M) is a protease inhibitor broadly present in the plasma of vertebrates and invertebrates, and is an important non-specific humoral factor in defence system of the animals. This study conducted the immuno-analysis and mass spectrometric analysis methods to investigate the characteristics of the protease inhibitor, α-2-M, among groupers and related species. Rabbit antiserum to the purified α-2-M of Epinephelus coioides was used in different immunological methods to determine the immune cross-reactions of the α-2-M in samples. Plasma of Epinephelus bruneus, E. fuscoguttatus, E. lanceolatus, and E. quoyanus exhibited high protease inhibitory activities by BAPNA-trypsin assay. To purify the α-2-M protein, plasma protein of grouper Epinephelus coioides was first precipitated by using PEG 6000, then Blue Sepharose 6 Fast Flow, DEAE Sephacel, Con A Separose 4B and Phenyl Sepharose High Performance columns were used on FPLC system for purification. The molecular mass of grouper plasma α-2-M was determined as a 180 kDa protein on non-reduced SDS-PAGE. In addition, it was determined as 97 and 80 kDa protein on reduced SDS-PAGE. Enzymatic and chemical deglycosylation of glycogen revealed that the contents of glycogen in 97 and 80 kDa subunits were 12.4% and 15%, respectively, and were all belonging to N-linked type. Only one precipitation arc was visualized in all plasma of Epinephelus spp. using the rabbit antiserum to the purified α-2-M of E. coioides, on crossed immunoelectrophoresis (CIE) gels. The plasma of Epinephelus spp. and seawater fish species showed stronger responses than freshwater fish species while that of other animal species showed no response by dot-blot assay. One single band was detected on Native PAGE-Western blotting assay, one single 180 kDa band was detected on non-reduced SDS-PAGE-Western blotting, and four bands (80、97、160、250 kDa) were detected on reduced SDS-PAGE when various grouper plasma was performed respectivity. However, no band was detected using plasma from the freshwater fish species and other animal species. Thus, further indicates that the protein structure of α-2-M of Epinephelus spp. was closely related among seawater fish species. In addition the identity of the two subunits was identified using LC/MS/MS which was similar to α-2-M of grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) and bluegill sunfish (Lepomis macrochirus) on the protein hit.

Concepts: Molecular biology, Enzyme, Fish, Immunity, Vertebrate, Epinephelus, Grouper, Bluegill


The clam Meretrix meretrix is a commercially important mollusc species in the coastal areas of South and Southeast Asia. In the present study, large-scale SNPs were genotyped by the Multiplex SNaPshot genotyping method among the stocks of M. meretrix with different Vibrio spp. infection resistance profile. Firstly, the AUTOSNP software was applied to mine SNPs from M. meretrix transcriptome, and 323 SNP loci (including 120 indels) located on 64 contigs were selected based on Uniprot-GO associations. Then, 38 polymorphic SNP loci located on 15 contigs were genotyped successfully in the clam stocks with different resistance to Vibrio parahaemolyticus infection (11-R and 11-S groups). Pearson’s Chi-square test was applied to compare the allele and genotype frequency distributions of the SNPs between the different stocks, and seven SNP markers located on three contigs were found to be associated with V. parahaemolyticus infection resistance trait. Haplotype-association analysis showed that six haplotypes had significantly different frequency distributions in 11-S and 11-R (P < 0.05). With selective genotyping between 09-R and 09-C populations, which had different resistance to Vibrio harveyi infection, four out of the seven selected SNPs had significantly different distributions (P < 0.05) and therefore they were considered to be associated with Vibrio spp. infection resistance. Sequence alignments and annotations indicated that the contigs containing the associated SNPs had high similarity to the immune related genes. All these results would be useful for the future marker-assisted selection of M. meretrix strains with high Vibrio spp. infection resistance.

Concepts: Immune system, Gene, Genetics, Chi-square test, Chi-square distribution, Pearson's chi-square test, Vibrio, Vibrio parahaemolyticus


In the present study, Macrobrachium rosenbergii were fed with diets containing extracts of banana, Musa acuminate, fruit’s peel (banana peels extract, BPE) at 0, 1.0, 3.0 and 6.0 g kg(-1). The non-specific immune parameters, disease resistance and anti-hypothermal stress were evaluated at 2, 4, 8, 16 and 32 days of post feeding. Also, we demonstrated the percent weight gain (PWG), percent length gain (PLG), feeding efficiency (FE), and survival rate of giant freshwater prawn at 30, 60, 90, and 120 days of post feeding. The PWG, PLG, FE and survival rate of prawns fed at 0, 1.0, 3.0 and 6.0 g kg(-1) BPE-containing diets after 120 days were 69.5%, 75.4%, 77.8% and 83.3%; 21.8%, 23.6%, 27.8% and 33.9%; 0.60, 0.72 0.75 and 0.90; and 55.4%, 62.2%, 62.3% and 75.3%, respectively. After 32 days of post feeding, a significant increase in total haemocyte count (THC), different haemocyte count (DHC), respiratory bursts (RBs), superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity, glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activity, phenoloxidase (PO) activity and transglutaminase (TG) activity, and meanwhile, a decreased haemolymph coagulation time was observed. Furthermore, phagocytic activity and clearance efficiency of prawns against Lactococcus garvieae infection was significantly increased. Prawns challenged with L. garvieae after 32 days of feeding at 0, 1.0, 3.0 and 6.0 g kg(-1) had a significant higher survival rate (33.3%, 40.0% and 56.7%) than those fed with the control diet. Subsequently, hypothermal (14°C) stress was 43.4%, 50.0% and 50.0%, respectively. Altogether, we therefore recommend the dietary BPE administration at 6.0 g kg(-1) promotes growth, anti-hypothermal stress, and enhance immunity and resistance against L. garvieae in M. rosenbergii.

Concepts: Immune system, Superoxide dismutase, Glutathione peroxidase, Banana, Musa, Plantain, Bananito, Freshwater prawn farm


We investigated the protective effects of curcumin on liver-damaged Cyprinus carpio var. Jian (Jian carp). The carp were fed 0.1%, 0.5%, or 1.0% curcumin for 60 days, then injected intraperitoneally with 30% carbon tetrachloride solution. Liver and blood samples were collected to measure the liver index, serum- and liver-associated enzymes, liver histology, nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB)/c-Rel, interleukin-1β (IL-1β), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), and IL-12 mRNA expression, and the level of NF-κB/c-Rel protein in the liver, and for a comet assay. We found that 0.5% and 1.0% curcumin significantly reduced the CCl4-induced increase in the liver index. The comet assay showed that the tail moment, olive tail moment, tail length, and tail DNA% improved in fish pretreated with 0.5 or 1.0% curcumin. CCl4-induced histological changes, including extensive hepatocyte degeneration, indistinct cell borders, nuclear condensation, and karyolysis were clearly reduced after treatment with 0.5% and 1.0% curcumin. Moreover, 0.5% and 1.0% curcumin significantly inhibited the CCl4-induced increase in serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase and promoted the restoration of superoxide dismutase in the liver; 1.0% curcumin significantly reduced serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase and lactate dehydrogenase and hepatic malondialdehyde, but significantly increased the total antioxidant capacity and glutathione levels in the liver. The CCl4-induced upregulation of NF-κB/c-Rel, IL-1β, and TNF-α mRNAs and NF-κB/c-Rel protein levels was inhibited by 0.5% and 1.0% curcumin, and IL-12 mRNA was reduced by all three doses of curcumin. The effects of curcumin on the liver index, enzymes, histological changes, and cytokines were dose-dependent. Our results indicate that curcumin reduces CCl4-induced liver damage in Jian carp by upregulating antioxidative activities and inhibiting NF-κB, IL-1β, TNF-α, and IL-12 expression.

Concepts: Cancer, Cytokine, Antioxidant, Superoxide dismutase, Messenger RNA, Liver, Paracetamol, Reduction potential


Plant polysaccharides (PPS) are an important medicinal plant product, and play a major role in preventing and controlling infectious microbes in aquaculture. The present study investigated the effect of three PPS; Ficus carica polysaccharides (FCPS), Radix isatidis polysaccharides (RIPS), and Schisandra chinensis polysaccharides (SCPS), used as feed additives, on innate immune responses and disease resistance against Aeromonas hydrophila in crucian carp. Results show that crucian carp fed with these PPS showed significant (p < 0.05) enhancement of their innate immune response including leukocyte phagocytosis activity, serum bactericidal activity, lysozyme activity, total protein level, complement C3, and superoxide dismutase activity compared with the control group. Their degree of influence on these immune parameters was in the order of FCPS > RIPS > SCPS, except for lysozyme activity (RIPS > FCPS > SCPS). In addition, fish cumulative mortalities in the three treatment groups were remarkably lower than in the control group (95%) when challenged with A. hydrophila, relative percent survivals were 57.9%, 47.4%, and 42.1% in FCPS, RIPS, and SCPS groups, respectively. These results suggest that FCPS, RIPS, and SCPS used as immunostimulants are capable of enhancing immune responses and disease resistance against A. hydrophila in crucian carp, and that FCPS was the most effective. The findings from this study will help accelerate research of this topic, and promote the application and development of immunostimulants, such as Chinese herbs, in aquaculture.

Concepts: Immune system, Antibody, Infectious disease, Innate immune system, Infection, Immunology, Immunity, Complement system


Scavenger receptors (SRs) are crucial pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) to defense pathogen infection in fish innate immunity. In this paper, some members in SRs family of Larimichthys crocea were identified, including eight genes in the class A, class B, class D and class F family. (G+C) % of all SRs members held 51 % ∼ 59 % encoding 20 different amino acids, and these genes were no obvious codon bias by analyzing the distribution of A-, T-, G- and C-ended codons. The order of Enc for all SRs members by sequencing was LycCD68 > LycSCARA5 > LycSCARB1 > LycCD163 > LycMARCO > LycSREC1 > LycSCARA3 > LycSREC2. Moreover, different lengths and numbers of exons and introns led to the diverse mRNAs and respective functional domains or motifs, for example, an optional cysteine-rich (SRCR) domain in LycMARCO and LycSCARA5, an epidermal growth factor (EGF) and EGF-like domain in LycSREC1 and LycSREC2. The sub-cellular localization demonstrated SRs members mainly located in plasma membrane or extracellular matrix. Further, all of the SRs members in L. crocea were almost low expressed in heart, gill and intestine, whereas high in spleen and liver. After stimulation by Vibrio alginolyticus, the class A and F families were induced significantly, and the class B and D families expressed less even none after pathogenic infection. All the findings would pave the way to understand not only the evolution of the SR-mediated immune response, but also the complexity of fish immunity.

Concepts: Immune system, Protein, Gene, Gene expression, Bacteria, Epidermal growth factor, Innate immune system, Genetic code


The aim of this study was to compare how different dietary vegetable oil n-6/n-3 ratios affect gene responses involved in inflammation, signaling pathways, fatty acid synthesis and oxidation, oxidation and apoptosis as well as eicosanoid production in salmon head kidney tissues and isolated head kidney leukocytes. Salmon smolts (200 g) were fed four different diets where the main lipid components were palm oil (n-6/n-3 ratio = 0.7), rapeseed oil (n-6/n-3 ratio = 0.9), and soybean oil (n-6/n-3 ratio = 2.4) and a high soybean oil diet with an n-6/n-3 ratio = 4. Both head kidney tissue and leukocytes isolated from head kidneys were sampled from the four diets, but from different fish. Leukocytes isolated from the head kidneys were seeded into culture wells and added lipopolysaccharide (LPS) to induce inflammatory responses. Controls without LPS were included. Head kidney leukocytes and the tissues should have the same phenotype reflecting the different diets. Interleukin 1β (IL-1β) transcription was elevated in head kidney tissue and especially in LPS treated leukocytes isolated from soybean oil (n-6/n-3 = 2.4) fed salmon, which confirmed the suitability of the in vitro model in this experiment. Leukocytes, treated with LPS, and isolated from salmon fed the soybean oil diet (n-6/n-3 = 2.4) also upregulated tumor necrosis factor alpha (tnf-α), cyclooxygenase (cox2), prostaglandin D and E synthase (ptgds, ptges), fatty acyl synthase (fas), 5 and 6 desaturases (5des, 6 des) and a fatty acid translocase protein (cd36) when compared to the other diets. The results suggest that diets with a specific n-6/n-3 ratio influence the transcription of pro-inflammatory genes and may be cross-linked to transcription of selected fatty acid metabolism genes. Salmon fed the palm oil diet (n-6/n-3 = 0.7) showed a lower expression of inflammatory genes. Instead, peroxisome proliferator activated receptor β1 (pparβ1), acyl coenzyme A (aco), apoptosis regulator (bax) and superoxide dismutase (sod) were upregulated in leukocytes in vitro, while head kidney tissue transcription of a dendritic marker (cd83) was lower than measured in tissues from fish fed the other diets. The concentration of LTB4 (10-20 ng/mL) were relatively constant in leukocyte supernatants, all diets. Head kidney leukocytes from soybean oil (n-6/n-3 = 2.4) fed fish produced LPS induced PGE2 (mean 0.5 ng/mL) while leukocytes isolated from palm oil diet (n-6/n-3 = 0.7) secreted very high amounts of LTB5 (50-70 ng/mL). In addition, equal amounts of LPS induced PGE2 and PGE3 (mean 0, 5 ng/mL) were produced, indicating that the n-6/n-3 ratio of this saturated fatty acid may have a specific impact on eicosanoid production in the head kidney of salmon.

Concepts: Inflammation, Metabolism, Nutrition, Fatty acid, Fat, Fatty acid metabolism, Lipid, Saturated fat


This study examined the effects of an herbal extract composed of nine herbs i.e Aloe vera, Andrographis pariculata, Annona squamosa, Azadirachta indica, Citrus aurantifolia, Coriandrum sativum, Ocimum sanctum, Ollium cepa and Psidium guajava on growth, survival rate and immunoprotection against pathogenic Vibrio harveyi in the tiger shrimp Penaeus monodon. The petroleum ether, methanol and N-hexen extracts of different herbal plants were selected, processed and thoroughly mixed in equal proportions and added to the shrimp diets at a concentration of 1.0, 2.5 and 5.0 mL kg(-1). After 60 days of feeding, shrimps were challenged with V. harveyi bacteria (1 × 10(7) cells mL(-1)), which were isolated and propagated from the infected shrimps. The shrimps fed on diets with methanolic extraction of 2.5 mL kg(-1) had significantly (P < 0.001) higher survival rate (76%), specific growth rate (4.26± 0.11%) and better food conversion ratio (1.5) than the other groups. This study indicates that addition of methanolic herbal extracts of 2.5 mL kg(-1) can positively influence the immune response of tiger shrimp against V. harveyi infection.

Concepts: Immune system, Bacteria, Infection, Prawn, Shrimp farm, Penaeidae, Penaeus monodon, Penaeus