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Immunostimulants, adjuvants, and vaccine carriers in fish: Applications to aquaculture

January 1, 1992

Use of immunostimulants, adjuvants, and vaccine carriers in fish culture offers a wide range of attractive methods for inducing and building up protection against diseases. Immunostimulants and adjuvants can be administered before, with, or after vaccines to amplify the specific immune response generating elevations of circulating antibody titers and numbers of plaque-forming cells. Special applications of immunostimulants include assisting shower or other regimens to increase topical uptake of vaccines. In addition, immunostimulants may be used alone, inducing elevated activities in the nonspecific defense mechanisms such as increased oxidative activity of neutrophils, augmented engulfment activity of phagocytic cells, or potentiating cytotoxic cells. In cases where disease outbreaks are cyclical and can be predicted, losses may be reduced by elevating the nonspecific defense mechanisms, and the immunostimulants may be used in anticipation of events to prevent losses from diseases. Complete Freund's adjuvant was one of the first immunostimulants used in animals to elevate the specific immune response, and it has also been successfully used in conjunction with injection of fish bacterins. Other adjuvants, immunostimulants, and biological response modifiers that have been used in fisheries research include levamisole, salt baths, and bacterial lipopolysaccharides. Vaccines have been adsorbed to inert particles, such as bentonite on latex beads, to carry the immunogens to maximize in vivo uptake for bath immunization and to facilitate in vitro phagocytosis. Each substance presents special problems in timing and method of administration (injection, immersion, oral—by feed—or flush treatments), dosage adjustments for size and fish species, storage stability, and cost. An additional consideration is that the nonspecific defense mechanisms and immune responses in fish are highly variable among individuals and statistical validation requires appropriate sample numbers and carefully controlled experiments.

This article reviews the literature and present concepts of use of immunostimulants, adjuvants, and vaccine carriers in fish. Cautions for use are noted, as some of these potent substances can suppress or alter biological pathways if used inappropriately. Recent research, defining pathways of the action of immunostimulants, adjuvants, and vaccine carriers, helps explain how these substances activate the protective mechanisms in fish. In addition, immunostimulants used alone hold tremendous potential for use in fish farms, hatcheries, and aquaculture facilities to reduce losses from infectious diseases. Research on the immunostimulant, levamisole, and the light oil adjuvants for use in food fish is in progress. Applications for use of these immunostimulants are proposed.

Publication Year 1992
Title Immunostimulants, adjuvants, and vaccine carriers in fish: Applications to aquaculture
DOI 10.1016/0959-8030(92)90067-8
Authors Douglas P. Anderson
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Annual Review of Fish Diseases
Index ID 1014225
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Leetown Science Center