Enrichment of common carp (Cyprinus carpio) diet with medlar (Mespilus germanica) leaf extract: Effects on skin mucosal immunity and growth performance
A feeding trial was performed to assess the effects of dietary Medlar (Mespilus germanica) leaf extract (MLE) on the growth performance, skin mucus non-specific immune parameters as well as mRNA levels of immune and antioxidant related genes in the skin of common carp (Cyprinus carpio) fingerlings. Fish were fed diets supplemented with graded levels (0, 0.25, 0.50, and 1.00%) of MLE for 49 days. The results revealed an improvement to the growth performance and feed conversion ratio in MLE fed carps (P < 0.05), regardless of the inclusion level. The immunoglobulin levels and interleukin 8 levels in the skin mucous and skin, respectively, revealed significant increment in fish fed 1% MLE (P < 0.05) in comparison with the other MLE treatments and control group. Also, feeding on 0.25% and 0.50% MLE remarkably increased skin mucus lysozyme activity (P < 0.05). However, there were no significant difference between MLE treated groups and control (P > 0.05) in case protease activity in the skin mucous or tumor necrosis factor alpha and interleukin 1 beta gene expression in the skin of carps (P > 0.05). The expression of genes encoding glutathione reductase and glutathione S-transferase alpha were remarkably increased in MLE fed carps compared to the control group (P < 0.05) while carp fed 0.50% or 1.00% MLE had significantly increased glutathione peroxidase expression in their skin (P < 0.05). The present results revealed the potentially beneficial effects of MLE on the mucosal immune system and growth performance in common carp fingerlings.