Effects of Cortisol and Lipopolysaccharide on Expression of Select Growth-, Stress- and Immune-Related Genes in Rainbow Trout Liver

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Many studies have shown that stress-induced cortisol levels negatively influence growth and immunity in finfish. Despite this knowledge, few studies have assessed the direct effects of cortisol on liver immune function. Using real-time PCR, the expression of three cortisol-responsive genes (GR: glucocorticoid receptor, IGF-1: insulin-like growth factor-I and SOCS-1: suppressor of cytokine signaling-I), genes involved with innate and adaptive immunity (IL-1β: interleukin-1 beta, IgM: immunoglobin-M and Lyz: lysozyme), and liver-specific antimicrobial peptides (hepcidin and LEAP-2A: liver-expressed antimicrobial peptide-2A) was studied in vitro using rainbow trout liver slices. The abundances of GR, SOCS-1 and IGF-1 mRNAs were suppressed by cortisol treatment. Abundance of IL-1β mRNA was upregulated by LPS and suppressed by cortisol treatment in a time-dependent manner. While abundance of IgM mRNA was suppressed by cortisol treatment and stimulated by LPS, there were no effects of cortisol or LPS on abundance of Lyz mRNA. Abundance of hepcidin and LEAP-2A mRNA levels were suppressed by cortisol treatment and stimulated by LPS. These results demonstrate that cortisol directly suppresses abundance of GR, IGF-1, IL-1β, IgM, hepcidin, LEAP-2A and SOCS-1 mRNA transcripts in the rainbow trout liver. We report for the first time, a suppressive effect of cortisol (within 8 h of treatment) on hepcidin and LEAP-2A mRNAs in rainbow trout liver, which suggests that acute stress may negatively affect liver immune function in rainbow trout.



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