Search for effective oral adjuvants for rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)

Felix Docando, Paula Arense, Alba Martín-Martín, Tiehui Wang, Carolina Tafalla, Patricia Díaz-Rosales*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Disease prevention by vaccination is, on economic, environmental and ethical grounds the most appropriate method for pathogen control currently available to the aquaculture sector. However, vaccine administration in aquatic animals faces obvious technical problems not encountered in other land animals. Thus, oral vaccines are highly demanded by the aquaculture sector that requests alternatives to the labor-intensive injectable vaccines that require individual handling of fish, provoking stress-related immunosuppression and handling mortalities. Despite this, most previous attempts to obtain effective oral vaccines have failed both in fish and mammals. This could be a consequence of very restricted tolerance mechanisms in the intestine given the fact that this mucosa is at the frontline upon antigen encounter and has to balance the delicate equilibrium between tolerance and immunity in a microbe rich aquatic environment. In this context, the search for an optimal combination of antigen and adjuvant that can trigger an adequate immune response able to circumvent intestinal tolerance is needed for each pathogen. To this aim, we have explored potential of molecules such as β-glucans, flagellin, CpG and bacterial lipopolysacharide (LPS) as oral adjuvants. For this, we have determined the effects of these adjuvants ex vivo in rainbow trout intestine tissue sections, and in vitro in leucocytes isolated from rainbow trout spleen and intestine. The effects were evaluated by analyzing the levels of transcription of different genes related to the innate and adaptive immune response, as well as evaluating the number of IgM-secreting cells. LPS seems to be the molecule with stronger immunostimulatory potential, and could safely be used as a mucosal adjuvant in rainbow trout. Moreover, the designed strategy provides a fast methodology to screen adjuvants that are suitable for oral vaccination, providing us with valuable information about how the intestinal mucosa is regulated in fish.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-424
Number of pages6
JournalFish and Shellfish Immunology
Early online date17 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors want to thank Lucía González for technical support. This work was financed by the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities (projects AGL2017-85494-C2-1-R and PID2020-113268RB-I00), by the Comunidad de Madrid (grant 2016-T1/BIO-1672 ) and the European Research Council (ERC Consolidator Grant 2016 725061 TEMUBLYM ).


  • Adjuvants
  • CpGs
  • Flagellin
  • Glucans
  • LPS
  • Rainbow trout


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