The effect of peptidoglycan enriched diets on antimicrobial peptide gene expression in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)

Elisa Casadei, Steve Bird, Jose L. González Vecino, Simon Wadsworth, Christopher J. Secombes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of feeding rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) peptidoglycan (PG) enriched diets on antimicrobial peptide (AMP) gene expression. Fish were divided into 5 groups and fed diets containing 0, 5, 10, 50 and 100 mg PG/Kg, and sampled 1, 7 and 14 days later. The expression of eight AMP genes (four defensins, two cathelicidins and two liver expressed AMPs) was determined in skin, gill, gut and liver, tissues important for first lines of defence or production of acute phase proteins. Up-regulation of many AMPs was found after feeding the PG enriched diets, with sequential expression seen over the time course studied, where defensins were typically expressed early and cathelicidins and LEAPs later on. A number of clear differences in AMP responsiveness between the tissues examined were also apparent. Of the four PG concentrations used, 5 mg PG/Kg did not always elicit AMP gene induction or to the same degree as seen with the other diets. The three higher dose groups generally showed similar trends although differences in fold change were more pronounced in the 50 and 100 mg PG/Kg groups. Curiously several AMPs were down-regulated after 14 days of feeding in gills, gut and liver. Nevertheless, overall the PG enriched diets had a positive effect on AMP expression. Further investigations now need to be undertaken to confirm whether this higher AMP gene expression correlates with protection against common bacterial diseases and if PG enriched diets have value as a means to temporarily boost the piscine immune system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)529-537
Number of pages9
JournalFish & Shellfish Immunology
Issue number2
Early online date7 Dec 2012
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013

Bibliographical note

The research was supported financially by an industrial studentship between the University of Aberdeen, Ewos Innovation AS and Schering-Plough Animal Health Aquaculture.


  • Antimicrobial peptides
  • Gene expression
  • Immunostimulants
  • Peptidoglycan
  • Salmonids


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