In-vivo analysis of Protec™ and β-glucan supplementation on innate immune performance and intestinal health of rainbow trout

D. Porter, D. Peggs, C. McGurk, S.A.M. Martin* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
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Functional diets are often given to fish during key stages to improve health through the interaction of the feed components with the host intestine. The additional factors added in these diets are known to modulate the immune response and as such may also offer protection against pathogenic challenges. The present study was undertaken to evaluate whether β-glucan supplementation for 6 weeks can alter the magnitude of immune response to immunological challenges and subsequently offer an improved innate immune response to bacterial challenge in rainbow trout. Two experimental diets were used to study these effects: a basic commercial diet supplemented with β-glucan and a commercially available functional diet (Protec™) that has β-glucan as a functional component in addition to other components were compared to a basic commercial control diet. No significant differences were observed in biometric data. Histological analysis revealed a significantly greater number of goblet cells in the fish fed Protec™ and β-glucan diets compared to those fed a control diet. Cell marker gene expression of distal intestine leucocytes indicated higher expression of T and B-cells marker genes to both the β-glucan containing diets in comparison to control. The Protec™ diet demonstrated modulation of innate immune markers after 6 weeks of feeding with key antimicrobial genes (SAA, HAMP, IL-1β and TNFα) showing significant increases compared to the other diets. After stimulation with both PAMPs and an immune challenge with A. salmonicida fish fed the β-glucan diet and the Protec™ exhibited modulation of the innate immune response. An immune challenge with A. salmonicida was carried out to identify if dietary composition led to differences in the innate immune response of rainbow trout. Modulation of the magnitude of response in some immune genes (SAA, IL-1β and HAMP) was observed in both the distal intestine and head kidney in the Protec™ and β-glucan fed fish compared to those fed the control diet.
Original languageEnglish
Article number108573
Number of pages13
JournalFish & Shellfish Immunology
Early online date30 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Many thanks to the Aquarium team at the University of Aberdeen for their continued support, knowledge, and training in fish husbandry. Lab technical support by Dr Dawn Shewring was greatly appreciated. The authors gratefully acknowledge the University of Aberdeen Microscopy and Histology Core Facility for their support & assistance in this work. Many thanks to Dr Tiehui Wang for supplying the recombinant IL-1β.
This work was funded by the University of Aberdeen and Skretting AI.

Data Availability Statement

No data was used for the research described in the article.


  • Gut associated lymphoid tissue
  • Functional feeds
  • Beta glucan
  • Rainbow trout
  • Protec™
  • Innate immunology
  • Pathogen associated molecular patterns


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