Evaluation of Arginine and Glutamine as Dietary Supplements to Enhance Edwardsiella ictaluri Vaccine Effectivness in Channel Catfish
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Rapid expansion of the aquaculture industry in recent decades has resulted in infectious diseases emerging as a major constraint to fish production, causing large economical losses worldwide. Therefore, prevention practices are indispensable for maintaining the industry's profitability and sustainability. Vaccination is a proven effective strategy for disease control in aquaculture; however, improvements in vaccine efficacy are still needed. Because amino acid supplementation not only enhances fish growth but also immune responses, a series of experiments were conducted to test the hypothesis that dietary supplementation of arginine and glutamine, two amino acids with immunomodulatory roles, may promote growth and increase the efficacy of vaccination against Edwardsiella ictaluri in channel catfish. An initial experiment demonstrated that dietary arginine supplementation at 2 and 4% of diet enhanced growth and feed efficiency of channel catfish. Dietary arginine deficiency diminished plasma levels of arginine, citrulline, ornithine, glutamine and glutamate, and impaired innate performance of macrophages and neutrophils. In a separate experiment, dietary glutamine supplementation failed to enhance growth responses; however, supplementation at 2% of diet had strong positive effects on intestinal histology and enterocyte migration rate. In addition, serine, asparagine, glycine and threonine were increased in plasma of fish fed the diet with glutamine at 2%. A third experiment revealed that activated macrophages utilized large quantities of glutamine in media and to a lesser extent arginine. These two amino acids also were the most utilized by proliferating lymphocytes. Supplementing media with these amino acids positively modulated phagocytosis and bactericidal capacity of macrophages, as well as increased the proliferation rate of lymphocytes. A final experiment indicated that dietary supplementation of arginine (4%) and glutamine (2%) optimized the nutritional and immunological status of channel catfish, and enhanced responses to E. ictaluri vaccination. At the same time, this supplementation ameliorated some short-term adverse effects of vaccination on growth. Higher specific antibody titers, better lymphocyte responsiveness and survival to the bacterium were seen in vaccinated fish fed arginine- and glutamine-supplemented diets. These results support an expanded role of dietary arginine and glutamine manipulation as a tool to improve growth and vaccine efficacy of channel catfish.
Pohlenz Castillo, Camilo (2011). Evaluation of Arginine and Glutamine as Dietary Supplements to Enhance Edwardsiella ictaluri Vaccine Effectivness in Channel Catfish. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from