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Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Differential expression of immune-related biomarkers in primary cultures from Atlantic salmon ( Salmo salar ) exposed to processed Paecilomyces variotii with or without inactivated Moritella viscosa

Mensah, Dominic Duncan; Morales-Lange, Byron; Overland, Margareth; Baruah, Kartik; Mydland, Liv Torunn


Paecilomyces variotii (a filamentous fungus), is a promising novel protein source in fish feeds due to its high nutritional value. Also, P. variotii has Microbial-Associated Molecular Patterns (MAMPs) such as glucans and nucleic acids that could modulate the host's immune response. To understand the potential bioactive properties of this fungus in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), our study was conducted to evaluate the gene expression of immune-related biomarkers (e.g., cytokines, effector molecules and receptors) on primary cultures from salmon head kidney (HKLs) and spleen leukocytes (SLs) exposed to either UV inactivated or fractions from P. variotii with or without inactivated Moritella viscosa (a skin pathogen in salmonids). Moreover, the effect of the fermentation conditions and down-stream processing on the physical ultrastructure and cell wall glucan content of P. variotii was characterized. The results showed that drying had a significant effect on the cell wall ultrastructure of the fungi and the choice of fermentation has a significant effect on the quantity of beta-glucans in P. variotii. Furthermore, stimulating Atlantic salmon HKLs and SLs with P. variotii and its fractions induced gene expression related to pro-inflammatory (tnf alpha, il1 beta) and antimicrobial response (cath2) in HKLs, while response in SLs was related to both pro-inflammatory and regulatory response (tnf alpha, il6 and il10). Similarly, the stimulation with inactivated M. viscosa alone led to an up-regulation of genes related to pro-inflammatory (tnf alpha, il1 beta, il6) antimicrobial response (cath2), intra-cellular signalling and recognition of M. viscosa (sclra, sclrb) and a suppression of regulatory response (il10) in both HKLs and SLs. Interestingly, the co-stimulation of cells with P. variotii and M. viscosa induced immune homeostasis (il6, tgf beta) and antimicrobial response (cath2) in SLs at 48h. Thus, P. variotii induces immune activation and cellular communication in Atlantic salmon HKLs and SLs and modulates M. viscosa induced pro-inflammatory responses in SLs. Taken together, the results from physical and chemical characterization of the fungi, along with the differential gene expression of key immune biomarkers, provides a theoretical basis for designing feeding trials and optimize diets with P. variotii as a functional novel feed ingredient for Atlantic salmon.


Head kidney leukocytes; Spleen leukocytes; cytokines; Effector molecules; Receptors; Microbial -associated molecular patterns; Filamentous fungi; M. viscosa

Published in

Fish and Shellfish Immunology
2024, Volume: 148, article number: 109506

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Fish and Aquacultural Science

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