Local immune response of two mucosal surfaces of the European seabass,Dicentrarchus labrax, fed tryptophan- or methionine-supplemented diets

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Immune responses relies on an adequate provision of multiple nutrients that sustain the synthesis of key effector molecules. These needs are depicted in the already reported increase of circulating free amino acids in fish under stressful conditions. Since aquaculture and the inherent fish welfare are an emergent call, the immunomodulatory effects of amino acids on gut- and skin-associated lymphoid tissues of the European seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax) were studied under unstressed conditions and after an inflammatory insult. To achieve this goal, fish were distributed in duplicate tanks (fifteen fish per tank) and were fed for 14 days with methionine or tryptophan-supplemented diets at 2× dietary requirement level (MET and TRP, respectively) or a control diet meeting the amino acids requirement levels (CTRL). Afterwards, samples of skin and posterior gut were collected from 6 fish per dietary treatment for the assessment of the immune status while the remaining animals were intraperitoneally-injected with inactivated Photobacterium damselae subsp. piscicida and subsequently sampled either 4 or 24 h post-injection.

The immune status of both mucosal surfaces was poorly affected, although a tryptophan effect was denoted after bacterial inoculation, with several immune-related genes up-regulated in the gut at 4 h post-injection, which seems to suggest a neuroendocrine-immune systems interaction. In contrast, skin mucosal immunity was inhibited by tryptophan dietary supplementation. Regarding methionine, results were often statistically non-significant, though increasing trends were denoted in a few parameters.

Overall, dietary methionine did not significantly affect neither gut nor skin immunity, whereas tryptophan supplementation seems to induce modulatory mechanisms that might be tissue-specific.

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