Modulation of stress and innate immune response by corticosteroids in pacu (Piaractus mesopotamicus)

Fábio S Zanuzzo, Rafael E Sabioni, Cleni M Marzocchi-Machado, Elisabeth C Urbinati
Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology. Part A, Molecular & Integrative Physiology 2019 January 28
Understanding how stress and corticosteroid modulates the innate immune response is one of the keys to improving productivity and reducing losses in intensive aquaculture. Thus, we investigated the effects of dietary corticosteroids (7 days; long-term exposure) and transport (4 h; short-term stress) on stress and innate immune response in pacu. For this end, fish were fed with diets containing dexamethasone (100 mg kg-1 ) or hydrocortisone (200 mg kg-1 ), followed by transport, and then were intraperitoneally inoculated with heat-killed Aeromonas hydrophila or PBS (sham-inoculation). Fish were sampled after a 7-day feeding period, immediately post-transport and 24 h post-transport and inoculation. The dietary treatment of corticosteroids decreased resting cortisol levels by inhibiting the production of cortisol on the hypothalamus pituitary interrenal-axis. Further, both corticosteroids reduced hematocrit, red blood cells, haemoglobin and hemolytic activity of the complement, while they increased glucose levels and serum lysozyme concentrations. The transport increased cortisol and glucose levels and reduced the humoral immune defenses such as serum lysozyme concentration and hemolytic activity of the complement system. Interestingly, the hemolytic activity of the complement system increased sharply in fish fed with corticosteroids immediately post-transport, when they had their HPI-axis partially suppressed by the corticosteroids. This finding suggests a stimulatory effect of the catecholamines released during the transport on the activity of the complement system. Our results are highly valuable to understanding the stress and innate immune responses to long-term exposure to corticosteroids and short-term stress in fish and may provide insights into how corticosteroids modulate the innate immune system.

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