DAO 70:63-70 (2006)  -  doi:10.3354/dao070063

Dietary immunostimulants influence specific immune response and resistance of healthy and immunocompromised Asian catfish Clarias batrachus to Aeromonas hydrophila infection

Jaya Kumari, P. K. Sahoo*

Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture, Kausalyaganga, Bhubaneswar 751 002, India
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: In order to determine the efficacy and immunoreversal effect of the 4 dietary immunomodulators, viz. lactoferrin, β-1,3 glucan, levamisole and vitamin C, on disease resistance of a commercially important catfish, Clarias batrachus, fish were fed diets supplemented with various levels of these substances in 2 subgroups, healthy and immunocompromised, during a 30 d trial. An artificial immunosuppressive state was induced by giving 3 intraperitoneal (i.p.) injections of cyclophosphamide (CYP) at a dose level of 200 mg kg–1 body weight at 1 wk intervals in the immunocompromised vaccinated subgroup and 3 consecutive injections 3 d before challenge in the immunocompromised non-vaccinated subgroup. On the first day of the experiment, the fish were vaccinated against a formalin-killed Aeromonas hydrophila bacterin. After 30 d, antibody titre (as measured through bacterial agglutination titre) and disease resistance against A. hydrophila were determined. The results demonstrate that all 4 immunomodulators were capable of significantly (p < 0.05) enhancing the specific immune response; this was evident through raised antibody titre and protection against A. hydrophila in both healthy and immunocompromised vaccinated subgroups compared to their respective controls. Similarly, all 4 substances significantly raised the survival rates in immunocompromised and healthy non-vaccinated fish. Thus, these substances were capable of reducing the immunosuppression induced by CYP injections in both vaccinated and non-vaccinated fish compared to their respective controls. Among the 4 substances studied, β-1,3 glucan was found to be the most effective immunomodulator, followed by levamisole, lactoferrin and vitamin C in Asian catfish. Therefore, the results support the introduction of these substances into the diet of fish grown in farms under immunosuppressive/stressful conditions in order to enhance protection against infection and offer economic benefits.

KEY WORDS: Immunomodulators · Cyclophosphamide · Specific immunity · Disease resistance · Clarias batrachus · Aeromonas hydrophila

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