Quantitative expression analysis of goldfish SAA revealed the highest mRNA levels in the kidney, spleen and intestine with lower mRNA levels in muscle and liver. Goldfish SAA was differentially expressed in goldfish immune cells with highest mRNA levels observed in neutrophils. To functionally assess goldfish SAA, recombinant protein (rgSAA) was generated by prokaryotic expression and functionally characterized. Monocytes and macrophages treated with rgSAA exhibited differential gene expression of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines. rgSAA induced gene expression of both pro-inflammatory (TNFα1, TNFα2) and anti-inflammatory cytokines (IL-10, TGFβ) in monocytes. rgSAA induced IL-1β1 and SAA gene expression in macrophages. rgSAA was chemotactic to macrophages and neutrophils, but not monocytes. rgSAA did not affect respiratory burst induced by heat-killed Aeromonas salmonicida. rgSAA treatment of macrophages down-regulated their production of nitric oxide. rgSAA exhibited antibacterial properties against Escherichia coli in a concentration dependent manner.