The Use of Dietary Additives in Fish Stress Mitigation: Comparative Endocrine and Physiological Responses
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SourceFront. Endocrinol. 10:447
In the last years, studies on stress attenuation in fish have progressively grown. This is mainly due to the interest of institutions, producers, aquarists and consumers in improving the welfare of farmed fish. In addition to the development of new technologies to improve environmental conditions of cultured fish, the inclusion of beneficial additives in the daily meal in order to mitigate the stress response to typical stressors (netting, overcrowding, handling, etc.) has been an important research topic. Fish are a highly diverse paraphyletic group (over 27,000 species) though teleost infraclass include around 96% of fish species. Since those species are distributed world-wide, a high number of different habitats and vital requirements exist, including a wide range of environmental conditions determining specifically the stress response. Although the generalized endocrine response to stress (based on the release of catecholamines and corticosteroids) is detectable and therefore provides essential information, a high diversity of physiological effects have been described depending on species. Moreover, recent omics techniques have provided a powerful tool for detecting specific differences regarding the stress response. For instance, for transcriptomic approaches, the gene expression of neuropeptides and other proteins acting as hormonal precursors during stress has been assessed in some fish species. The use of different additives in fish diets to mitigate stress responses has been deeply studied. Besides the species factor, the additive type also plays a pivotal role in the differentiation of the stress response. In the literature, several types of feed supplements in different species have been assayed, deriving in a series of physiological responses which have not focused exclusively on the stress system. Immunological, nutritional and metabolic changes have been reported in these experiments, always associated to endocrine processes. The biochemical nature and physiological functionality of those feed additives strongly affect the stress response and, in fact, these can act as neurotransmitters or hormone precursors, energy substrates, cofactors and other essential elements, implyingmulti-systematic and multi-organic responses. In this review, the different physiological responses among fish species fed stress-attenuating diets based on biomolecules and minerals have been assessed, focusing on the endocrine regulation and its physiological effects.