Novel insights into the cytokine network of rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss using cell lines and primary leukocyte populations

Fuguo Liu* (Corresponding Author), Brian Dixon, Maria Del Mar Ortega-Villaizan, Carolina Tafalla, Hongsen Xu, Christopher J Secombes* (Corresponding Author), Tiehui Wang* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cytokines are small proteins that regulate innate and adaptive immune responses and are released by both immune and non-immune cell types. In the current study, the constitutive and induced gene expression profiles of a suite of proinflammatory and regulatory cytokines was examined comparatively in eight rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) cell lines, in order to establish the cytokine repertoires of these different cell types, especially the understudied non-immune cells. They included three epithelial cell lines (RTgut, RTgill, and RTL), one endothelial cell line (RTH), one fibroblast cell line (RTG-2), two stromal cell lines (TSS and TPS-2) and one monocyte/macrophage-like cell line (RTS-11). Three types of primary leukocytes (derived from blood, spleen and head kidney) of trout were also included in the analysis, to allow comparison to the repertoires expressed in T cells, as a major source of cytokines in immune responses. The major findings are: 1) IL-2A, IL-2B, IL-4/13B1, IL-4/13B2, IL-10b, P40B1, P28B, IL-17A/F1b, TNF-α3, TNF-α4, IFNγ1, CCL20L2b and CCL20L3a are expressed mainly in leukocytes but IL-17 N, IL-17D, IL-20 and CCL20L1b2 are not expressed in these cells. Hence future studies in these cell lines will help establish their function in fish; 2) Some of the cytokines were differentially expressed in the cell lines, revealing the potential role of these cell types in aspects of trout mucosal and inflammatory immune responses, 3) Similar cell types grouped together in the cell cluster analysis, including the leukocyte cluster, stromal cell cluster, and epithelial and endothelial cell cluster. Taken together, this investigation of these trout cell lines forms a good database for studying the function of cytokines not expressed in isolated leukocytes or that are preferentially expressed in the cell lines. Furthermore, the cytokine expression analysis undertaken confirmed the phenotypic relationship of these cell types at the molecular level.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108755
Number of pages14
JournalFish & Shellfish Immunology
Early online date23 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Fuguo Liu was supported by a Newton International Fellowship funded by the Academy of Medical Sciences, UK (AMS, NIF004\1036).


  • Cytokine
  • Expression profile
  • Cell line
  • Primary leukocytec
  • Rainbow trout


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