Immunomodulation by zearalenone (ZEN) in carp (Cyprinus carpio L.)
The mycotoxin zearalenone (ZEN) is a frequent contaminant of animal feeds, but its effects on fish have not yet been investigated extensively. In order to fill this gap a feeding trial with juvenile carp was conducted. Three groups of fish were fed feeds contaminated with ZEN at three concentrations (low: 332 mg kg-1, medium: 621 mg kg-1, and high: 797 mg kg-1 feed) for four weeks. Possible reversible effects of ZEN were evaluated by feeding an additional group with the ZEN-contaminated feeds for four weeks, followed by the uncontaminated diet for two weeks. Immune function of isolated leukocytes from head kidney and trunk kidney was assessed using the assessment of NO production, the respiratory burst assay, the chemiluminescence assay and the measurement of arginase activities. These investigations frequently revealed increased immune responses after exposure of fish to low ZEN concentrations and reduced immune responses after exposure to high mycotoxin concentrations. Moreover, the feeding of the uncontaminated diet for further two weeks did not improve the immune responses in most cases. These results indicate that cellular immune functions in ZEN-contaminated carp are profoundly influenced which may be relevant for fish health in aquaculture.