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The mannose receptor (MR) is a type I transmembrane protein. Its ectodomain has eight C-type lectin-like domains, which are able to recognize and mediate the phagocytosis of a wide range of pathogens. Comprehensive studies have revealed that mammalian MR is widely distributed in the mononuclear phagocyte system (MPS, previously known as the reticuloendothelial system) and play a key role both in the physiological clearance and cell activation. Hitherto, neither the MR distribution, nor the function of clearance and cell activation has been investigated in fish. In the previous study, we have reported the full-length cDNA of blunt snout bream MR, analyzed its structure and relative mRNA expression during embryogenesis and in the liver, head kidney, spleen and intestine of fish after stimulation with killed Aeromonas hydrophila. In the present study, we developed a rabbit polyclonal antibody against MR and undertook a systematic survey of the expression of MR at the protein level by immunohistochemistry. To get more information about MR function, the mRNA expression of MR, pro-inflammatory factor TNF-α and anti-inflammatory factor ARG2 genes was measured by qRT-PCR in the liver, head kidney, and spleen after A. hydrophila challenge. We first observed MR expression in the yolk sac at the fertilized egg stage and possibly MR was expressed by early macrophages. We also showed the MR distribution in head kidney, body kidney, spleen, liver, intestine, muscle, brain, heart, and gills. Following A. hydrophila challenge the MR immunoreactive cells became more widespread in head kidney and spleen, which are the major reticuloendothelial systems of fish. The quantitative studies at mRNA levels showed that there exists a high correlation between MR expression and immune cytokine expressions after bacteria challenge.Distribution of fish MR from early embryogenesis through to adulthood in Megalobrama amblycephala.Modulation of MR expression after challenge with Aeromonas hydrophila.The expression of MR, TNF-α and ARG2 in the tissues of M. amblycephala after A. hydrophila challenge.