Nowadays, probiotics are becoming an integral part of the aquaculture practices to obtain high production. Probiotics are usually live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefits on host.
The common probiotics that are used for aquaculture practices include Lactobacillus, Lactococcus, Leuconostoc, Enterococcus, Carnobacterium, Shewanella, Bacillus, Aeromonas, Vibrio, Enterobacter, Pseudomonas, Clostridium, and Saccharomyces species.
The involvement of probiotics in nutrition, disease resistance and other beneficial activities in fish has proven beyond any doubt.
Among the numerous health benefits attributed to probiotics, modulation of immune system is one of the most commonly purported benefits of the probiotics and their potency to stimulate the systemic and local immunity under in vitro and in vivo conditions is noteworthy.
Different probiotics either monospecies or multispecies supplementation can eventually elevate phagocytic, lysozyme, complement, respiratory burst activity as well as expression of various cytokines in fish.
Similarly, probiotics can stimulate the gut immune system of fish with marked increase in the number of Ig+ cells and acidophilic granulocytes.
Furthermore, mono-bacterial association studies (with non-probiotic bacterial strains) in gnotobiotic
fish also indicate the up-regulation of various immune related genes.
Though the exact mode of action of probiotics is yet to be established in any animal including fish, probiotics often exert host specific and strain specific differences in their activities.
Various factors like source, type, dose and duration of supplementation of probiotics can significantly affect the immunomodulatory activity of probiotics.
The review is therefore, aiming to highlight the immunomodulatory activity of probiotics and also to evaluate the factors that regulate for the optimum induction of immune responses in fish.
Abstract from: Probiotics and immunity: A fish perspective by S.K. Nayak, Laboratory of Fish Pathology, Department of Veterinary Medicine, Nihon University, Japan.