Efficacy ofSpirulina platensisdiet supplements on disease resistance and immune-related gene expression inCyprinus carpioL. exposed to herbicide atrazine

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Abstract

The present study evaluated the immunotoxicological effects of the herbicide atrazine (ATZ) at sub-lethal concentrations and the potential ameliorative influence of Spirulina platensis (SP) over a sub-chronic exposure period on Cyprinus carpio L., also known as common carp. Common carp was sampled after a 40-days exposure to ATZ (428 μg/L) and SP (1%), individually or in combination to assess the non-specific immune response, changes in mRNA expression of immune-related genes [lysozyme (LYZ), immunoglobulin M (IgM), and complement component 3 (C3)] in the spleen, and inflammatory cytokines (interleukins IL–1ß and IL–10) in the head kidney using real-time PCR. Additionally, disease resistance to Aeromonas sobria was evaluated. The results revealed that ATZ exposure caused a significant decline in most of the hematological variables, lymphocyte viability, and lysozyme and bactericidal activity. Moreover, ATZ increased the susceptibility to disease, reflected by a significantly lower post-challenge survival rate of the carp. ATZ may induce dysregulated expression of immune-related genes leading to downregulation of mRNA levels of IgM and LYZ in the spleen. However, expression of C3 remained unaffected. Of the cytokine-related genes examined, IL–1B was up-regulated in the head kidney. In contrast, the expression of IL–10 gene was down-regulated in the ATZ-exposed group. The SP supplementation resulted in a significant improvement in most indices; however, these values did not match with that of the controls. These results may conclude that ATZ affects both innate and adaptive immune responses through the negative transcriptional effect on genes involved in immunity and also due to the inflammation of the immune organs. In addition, dietary supplements with SP could be useful for modulation of the immunity in response to ATZ exposure, thereby presenting a promising feed additive for carps in aquaculture.

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