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Antigen uptake and expression of antigen presentation-related immune genes in flounder (Paralichthys olivaceus) after vaccination with an inactivated Edwardsiella tarda immersion vaccine, following hyperosmotic treatment

Gao, Yingli, Tang, Xiaoqian, Sheng, Xiuzhen, Xing, Jing, Zhan, Wenbin
Fish & shellfish immunology 2016 v.55 pp. 274-280
Edwardsiella tarda, Paralichthys olivaceus, antigen presentation, antigens, flounder, gene expression regulation, genes, immune response, intestines, kidneys, liver, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, salinity, seawater, spleen, tissues, vaccination, vaccines
Antigen uptake is a critical process for activation of the immune system, and therefore the ability to enhance antigen uptake is a primary consideration in the development of an immersion vaccination of fish. In the present work, flounders (Paralichthys olivaceus) were immersed in three hyperosmotic solutions with 40, 50 and 60‰ salinities, then transferred into seawater of normal salinity (i.e. 30‰) containing formalin-inactivated Edwardsiella tarda for 30 min. The antigen uptake in vaccinated flounder was determined using an absolute quantitative PCR (qPCR). The results showed significantly higher antigen uptake in the tissues of flounders immersed in solutions with 50‰ and 60‰ salinity compared to the control group directly immersed in vaccine (DI) (P < 0.05), and the highest amount of antigen was detected in flounders immersed in the 50‰ salinity solution, whereas there was no significant difference in antigen uptake between the 40‰ salinity group and the DI group (P > 0.05). A rapid and significant increase in antigen uptake was detected in the mucosal-associated tissues including the gill, skin and intestine (P < 0.05) compared with the spleen, kidney and liver. Antigen uptake in the gill and skin both peaked at 30 min post immersion, which was significantly higher than the levels of uptake measured in the other tissues (P < 0.05), and then quickly declined. In contrast, antigen uptake in the spleen, kidney and liver gradually increased 3 h post immersion (hpi). The expression profiles of four antigen presentation-related immune genes (MHC Iα, MHC IIα, CD4-1 and CD8α) were investigated after immersion. These four genes showed a significantly stronger response in the immersed flounders exposed to 50‰ salinity compared with the DI group (P < 0.05). In the mucosal-associated tissues, the expression of MHC Iα and CD8α genes peaked at 24 hpi, while the expression of MHC IIα and CD4-1 genes showed up-regulation in the gill and skin and reached the peak in these tissues at 48 hpi. The expressions of the four genes were also up-regulated in spleen, kidney and liver, but reached peak expression in these tissues at 48–72 hpi. The results demonstrated that hyperosmotic immersion, notably 50‰ salinity significantly enhanced antigen uptake and the expression of selected genes associated with antigen presentation, providing evidence for an enhanced immune activation of the fish’s immune response by the hyperosmotic immersion treatment prior to vaccination.