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The present study assessed the effects of dietary arginine on intestinal antioxidant status and immunity involved in Nrf2 and NF-κB signaling pathway in juvenile blunt snout bream. Fish were fed three practical diets with graded arginine levels (0.87%, 1.62% and 2.70%) for 8 weeks. Compared with the control group (0.87%), the counts of white blood cell (WBC), red blood cell (RBC) and hemoglobin (HGB) content were significantly improved at dietary arginine levels of 1.62% (P<0.05). Plasma albumin (ALB) levels and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activities were significantly improved at dietary arginine levels of 1.62% and 2.70% (P < 0.05). Alanine transaminase (ALT) activity was decreased in fish fed with 1.62% dietary arginine level (P<0.05). Plasma glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activities, copper-zinc superoxide dismutase (Cu/Zn-SOD) activities, total antioxidant capacity (T-AOC) activities and glutathione (GSH) levels were significantly increased at dietary arginine levels of 1.62% and 2.70% (P<0.05). Plasma total superoxide dismutase (T-SOD) activities and catalase (CAT) activities were significantly improved in fish fed with 1.62% dietary arginine level. Significantly higher manganese superoxide dismutase (Mn-SOD) activity was observed in fish fed with 1.62% dietary arginine level compared with 2.70% dietary arginine level (P<0.05). 1.62% and 2.70% dietary arginine levels significantly lowered malondialdehyde (MDA) levels. The relative expression of nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) was significantly increased in fish fed with 1.62% dietary arginine level, inversely, the relative expression of Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1 (Keap1) showed a converse trend. 1.62% and 2.70% dietary arginine levels significantly improved the relative expressions of Cu/Zn-SOD, GPx and CAT. Furthermore, 2.70% dietary arginine level significantly lowered the relative expression of Mn-SOD compared with the control group and 1.62% dietary arginine levels. The relative expressions of Interleukin 1β (IL-1β), tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) were lowered in fish fed with 1.62% dietary arginine level. 1.62% and 2.70% dietary arginine levels significantly improved the relative expressions of transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β). Hematocrit (HCT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST) activities, interleukin 8 (IL-8) and interleukin 10 (IL-10) expressions were not significantly affected by the graded dietary arginine levels. These results suggest that the optimal dietary arginine level plays an important role in enhancing antioxidant and immune status to maintain the intestinal health of juvenile blunt snout bream.Optimal dietary arginine level (1.62%) could improve antioxidant capacity by Nrf2 signaling pathway.Optimal dietary arginine level (1.62%) could weaken inflammatory response by NF-κB signaling pathway.Optimal dietary arginine (1.62%) plays an important role in enhancing intestinal health.