Dietary leucine modulates growth performance, Nrf2 antioxidant signaling pathway and immune response of juvenile blunt snout bream (Megalobrama amblycephala)
The present study assessed the effects of dietary leucine on growth performance, antioxidant status and immunity in juvenile blunt snout bream. Fish were fed six practical diets of graded leucine levels ranging from 0.90% to 2.94% of dry basis for 8 weeks. Trail results showed that compared to control group (0.90%), 1.72% dietary leucine level significantly improved final weight (FW), weight gain rate (WG) and specific growth rate (SGR), and significantly lowered feed conversion ratio (FCR). Based on WG and SGR, the optimal dietary leucine level was obtained at 1.40% and 1.56%, respectively. Whole body crude lipid and protein contents were improved with increasing dietary leucine up to 2.14% and thereafter showed a downward trend, while whole body moisture content showed a converse trend. No significant change was found in whole body ash content. 1.72% dietary leucine level significantly improved the antioxidant capacity of fish by regulating the plasma superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity, glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activity, total antioxidant capacity (T-AOC) activity, catalase (CAT) activity, aspartate aminotransferase (AST) activities and malondialdehyde (MDA) content, furthermore, 1.72% dietary leucine level also significantly improved the antioxidant genes expressions of associated with Nrf2 signaling pathway by regulating heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), GPx, copperezinc superoxide dismutase (Cu/Zn-SOD), manganese superoxide dismutase (Mn-SOD), 2.14% dietary leucine levels also significantly improved glutathione transferase (GST) mRNA level. Dietary leucine levels significantly affected plasma immunity parameters such as the contents of plasma complement component 3 (C3), immunoglobulin M (IgM) and lowered the hepatopancreas genes expressions of pro-inflammatory factor by regulating interleukin 1β (IL-1β), interleukin 8 (IL-8) and tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) mRNA levels. The present study indicated that optimal dietary leucine level plays an important role in improving growth, enhancing antioxidant and immune status to maintain the health in juvenile blunt snout bream.