In fish, the stress response and their consequences in the immune system have been widely described. Recently, a differential cytokine regulation between rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and gilthead sea bream (Sparus aurata) was reported after treatment with stress hormones together with their receptor antagonists. Nevertheless, there is no evidence of whether antagonists for stress hormone receptors may influence the interaction between hormones and cytokines after bacterial administration. Thus, the aim of our study was to evaluate the cytokine expression in the presence of stress hormones (cortisol, ACTH, adrenaline), hormone receptor antagonists and inactivated Vibrio anguillarum bacterin in rainbow trout and gilthead sea bream head kidney primary cell culture (HKPCC). Mifepristone, spironolactone, propranolol and phentolamine were used to block GR, MR, MC2R, and β-/α-adrenoreceptors.
Our results showed an expected increase of the pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory response after inactivated V. anguillarum bacterin treatment in both species. Cortisol, ACTH and adrenaline did not modulate the expression of immune-related genes in rainbow trout, while in sea bream cortisol was able to reduce the stimulated gene expression of all cytokines. This effect was only restored to basal expression level in IL-1β and TNF-α by mifepristone. ACTH reduced both pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokine expression, excluding IL-1β, only in sea bream. Adrenaline enhanced the expression of IL-1β and TGF-β1 stimulated by inactivated V. anguillarum in sea bream, and the effect was diminished by propranolol. In sum, our results confirm that the immunoendocrine differences reported at gene expression profile between two teleost species are also observed after exposure to inactivated V. anguillarum bacterin, suggesting that stress hormones would differentially modulate the immune response against pathogens in teleost species.