Eicosanoids have been demonstrated to play a central role in immune regulation in mammals brought about by their direct effects on cells such as macrophages and lymphocytes or by their indirect effects via cytokines. Studies have shown that fish mononuclear phagocytes, granulocytes and thrombocytes synthesize and release both cyclooxygenase- and lipoxygenase-derived products such as prostaglandin E2, leukotriene B4 and lipoxin A4. Whether lymphocytes have the ability to generate leukotrienes and lipoxins is still unclear but they do appear to have 12-lipoxygenase activity that leads to the generation of 12-hydroxy fatty acid derivatives. As in mammals, leukotriene and lipoxin biosynthesis requires the presence of a 5-lipoxygenase activating protein-like molecule that is sensitive to the action of the specific inhibitor, MK-886. The prostaglandin-generating ability of trout macrophages can be altered by incubation with lipopolysaccharide suggesting the possible presence of an inducible cyclooxygenase activity. Prostaglandins have been found to suppress the mitogen-induced proliferation of trout leucocytes and the generation of humoral antibody and plasma cells both in vivo and in vitro. The lipoxygenase products, leukotriene B4 and lipoxin A4 have more variable effects ranging from inhibition to stimulation depending on the assay system employed. Overall, there is clear evidence that eicosanoids play a role in immune regulation in fish in a similar way to that reported in mammals.
- Immune modulation