The Immune System of Fish Part 1: The Four Pillars.

Sustainable Aquatics Inc is the world's largest RAS hatchery for marine ornamentals breeding over 300K fish, 100 RAS systems and grows 200+ non gmo species of warm and cold water fish.  The Hatchery functions as our core R&D center for developing and testing our feeds and supplements. 

If you visit (please do so!) stay for a week and see if they remove a dead or deformed animal.  It happens,  but once in a blue moon. 

The hatchery has a >96% egg to sale yield,  enjoys a 100% faster growth rate vs. their competitors and <2% deformities all without the use of antibiotics or vaccines. 

To hit these metrics requires a deep understanding of nutrition, specifically micronutrients required to make viable eggs, enable the animal execute its DNA programmed growth profile during its allometric development phase and a healthy immune system during grow-out.  We have separately published the results of our first Atlantic Salmon replicate and will publish additional articles on broodstock and the importance of first feeds over time. 

This series covers the Immune System of Fish. 

We will cover the following topics. 

  •  An introduction to the Four Pillars that make up Immune System
  • How each pillar works and the micronutrients that pillar requires in order to function
  • How viruses work
  • How vaccines work
  • Why vaccines are only required you have compromised the immune system of fish through malnutrition

The Four Pillars are

#1 Cell Walls

Healthy cell walls are the first line of defense against pathogens and parasites. The gills are the primary entry point for water born pathogens.   

Cell walls  (or more specifically the  cell-plasma membrane)  have to allow pathways for nutrients to enter, waste products to exit and signals to be sent to  and received from other cells. 

These pathways are exploited by pathogens to enter and infect the cell itself. 

#2 Power

All animals cells include an organelle called the mitochondria .  The mitochondria is miniature power plant using chemistry to create and store energy.  That chemistry also produces a side product-  reactive oxygen species (ROS).  A small amount of ROS is beneficial but surplus ROS is toxic.  Surplus ROS has been linked to DNA mutations, cancers and depletes the micronutrients & power needed by the immune system to function.  Feeds have to supply the necessary  antioxidants to neutralize the surplus ROS before they do damage.

#3 Eicosanoid System

To communicate with one another, cells send out and receive chemical signals. This signaling network is called the Eicosanoid system.  In the context of Immunity,  there  are two classes of eicosanoids:  pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory.  The pro-inflammatory system is activated on the detection of a foreign object and is designed to kill the pathogens both in the bloodstream and those that have infected a cell. The anti-inflammatory eicosanoids dominate telling the immune system to stand down and return to normal. 

#4 Blood

White blood cells are manufactured and stored in the bone marrow, lymph nodes, spleen and thymus and play a role in recognizing a pathogen as well as neutralizing the threat. The immune system also interacts with the Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone System (RAAS) to increase local blood flow(raising blood pressure) to the site.  Increased blood flow carries the white blood cells into battle but also adds an increased flow of micronutrients that healthy cells use to repair damage. 

Next week-  How Cell Walls Work 

Amplifeed Topcoat-  All of the micronutrients required for broodstock, first feeds and optimal immune system performance through out life.