The humoral immune system of anadromous fish

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The immune system of anadromous fish is extremely complex, a direct consequence of their diadromous nature. Hormone levels fluctuate widely throughout their life cycle, as fish move between fresh and salt water. This poses major challenges to the physiology of anadromous fish, including adaptation to very different saline environments, distinct pathogen fingerprints, and different environmental stressors. Elevated cortisol and sex hormone levels inhibit B lymphopoiesis and IgM+ antibody responses, while catecholamines, growth hormones and thyroid hormones are generally stimulatory and enhance the humoral immune response. Immunological memory in the form of long-lived plasma cells likely plays important roles in health and survival during the life cycle of anadromous fishes. This review discusses some of the complex immune-endocrine pathways in anadromous fish, focusing on essential roles for B lineage cells in the successful completion of their life cycle. A discussion is included on potential differences in immuno-competence between wild and hatchery-raised fish.

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