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Aquaculture Environment Interactions

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AEI 12:359-369 (2020)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/aei00369

Effects of cold stress and starvation on the liver of yellow drum Nibea albiflora: histological alterations and transcriptomic analysis

Qihui Zhu1,2,#, Hongbin Song1,2,#, Yan Zhang1,2, Ruiyi Chen1,2, Lu Tian1,2, Dongdong Xu1,2,*

1Marine Fishery Institute of Zhejiang Province, Key Lab of Mariculture and Enhancement of Zhejiang province, Zhoushan 316021, Zhejiang Province, PR China
2School of Fisheries, Zhejiang Ocean University, Zhoushan 316022, Zhejiang Province, PR China
*Corresponding author: #These authors contributed equally to this work

ABSTRACT: The yellow drum Nibea albiflora is a marine fish of great economic value in China. Despite efforts to improve yields, aquaculture of this species has been hindered by increases in winter-related mortalities associated with cold temperatures and associated natural fasting periods. To better understand the molecular mechanisms that regulate stress responses in yellow drum during periods of cold and starvation, the effect of these stresses on the liver was investigated by performing comparative analyses among fish subjected to different temperatures and feeding strategies. The experiment lasted for 22 d and involved 4 groups: one fed group (control) and one fasted group at 16°C, and one fed group and one fasted group at 8°C. Our results showed that all stress-treated groups exhibited body weight loss during the experiment, demonstrating that both cold stress and fasting caused growth inhibition, but only the fish in the fasted group at 16°C showed a loss in the liver/body ratio, suggesting that starvation can cause mass loss in the liver while cold stress can result in mass loss in both liver and other tissues. Histological alterations were observed in the liver cells from stress-treated groups, also indicating mass loss in the liver during cold stress and starvation. Transcriptomic analysis showed that genes related to the metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids and amino acids were the most enriched differentially expressed genes during the challenge conditions. These findings can help reveal molecular mechanisms regulating the stress responses of yellow drum exposed to cold and starvation.


KEY WORDS: RNA-seq · Cold stress · Starvation stress · Histological alterations · Yellow drum


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Cite this article as: Zhu Q, Song H, Zhang Y, Chen R, Tian L, Xu D (2020) Effects of cold stress and starvation on the liver of yellow drum Nibea albiflora: histological alterations and transcriptomic analysis. Aquacult Environ Interact 12:359-369. https://doi.org/10.3354/aei00369

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