Fish Physiology and Biochemistry

, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp 563–578 | Cite as

Effects of soybean meal on digestive enzymes activity, expression of inflammation-related genes, and chromatin modifications in marine fish (Sparus aurata L.) larvae

  • Erick PereraEmail author
  • Manuel Yúfera


The effects of soybean meal (SBM) in early diet of Sparus aurata larvae at two developmental windows were assessed. Prolonged (beyond 14 days post-hatch, dph) feeding with SBM decreased the activity of pancreatic enzymes of larvae. In the absence of SBM these larvae later resumed enzyme activities, but exhibited a significant delay in development. Larvae response to SBM involved up-regulation of extracellular matrix remodeling enzymes and pro-inflammatory cytokines, coupled with a drop in putative intestinal enzymes. Larvae receiving SBM at first feeding appear later to have lower expression of inflammation-related genes, especially those fed SBM until 14 dph. Multivariate analysis confirmed that the duration of the SBM early feeding period drives the physiology of larvae in different directions. Feeding larvae with SBM increased global histone H3 acetylation, whereas upon removal of SBM the process was reverted. A more in deep analysis revealed a dynamic interplay among several reversible histone modifications such as H3K14ac and H3K27m3. Finally, we showed that SBM feeding of larvae results in global hypomethylation that persist after SBM removal. This study is the first demonstrating an effect of diet on marine fish epigenetics. It is concluded that there are limitations for extending SBM feeding of S. aurata larvae beyond 14 dph even under co-feeding with live feed, affecting key physiological processes and normal growth. However, up to 14 dph, SBM does not affect normal development, and produces apparently lasting effects on some key enzymes, genes, and chromatin modifications.


Gilthead seabream Fish larvae Soybean meal Digestion Inflammation-related genes Chromatin modifications 



This research was funded by the European Union through the grant FISHPROG (326245). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the article. The views expressed in this work are the sole responsibility of the authors. Special thank to Yannis Kotzamanis who kindly donated the SBM used in this study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10695_2016_310_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (75 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 75 kb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Biología Marina y AcuiculturaInstituto de Ciencias Marinas de Andalucía (ICMAN-CSIC)CádizSpain
  2. 2.Control of Food Intake Group, Department of Fish Physiology and BiotechnologyInstitute of Aquaculture Torre de la Sal (IATS-CSIC)CastellónSpain

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