Fish Physiology and Biochemistry

, Volume 44, Issue 2, pp 543–555 | Cite as

Immunomodulatory effects of Rhodomyrtus tomentosa leaf extract and its derivative compound, rhodomyrtone, on head kidney macrophages of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)

  • Pinanong Na-Phatthalung
  • Mariana Teles
  • Supayang Piyawan Voravuthikunchai
  • Lluís Tort
  • Camino Fierro-Castro


Rhodomyrtus tomentosa is a medicinal plant that shows biological effects including immunomodulatory activity on human and other mammals but not in fish. In this study, we evaluated the in vitro immunomodulatory effects of R. tomentosa leaf extract and its active compound, rhodomyrtone, on the immune responses, using rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) head kidney (HK) macrophages as a model. The tested immune functions included the expression of genes involved in innate immune and inflammatory responses and the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Gene expression was evaluated after exposure to 10 μg mL−1 of R. tomentosa and 1 μg mL−1 of rhodomyrtone for 4 and 24 h. R. tomentosa and rhodomyrtone induced changes in the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines (il1β, il8, and tnfα), anti-inflammatory cytokines (il10 and tgfβ), inducible enzymes (inos, cox2, and arginase), and an antioxidant enzyme (gpx1). Co-exposure of R. tomentosa with LPS resulted in a prominent reduction in the expression of genes related to an inflammatory process (il1β, il8, tnfα, inos, saa, hepcidin, and gpx1), suggesting anti-inflammatory effects. Similarly, co-exposure of rhodomyrtone with LPS led to a downregulation of inflammation-related genes (il1β, inos, saa, and hepcidin). In addition, exposure to both natural plant products caused a reduction in cellular ROS levels by HK macrophages. The present results indicate that R. tomentosa and rhodomyrtone exerted immunostimulatory and anti-inflammatory effects on fish macrophages, thus opening up the possibility of using these natural products to further develop immunostimulants for health management in aquaculture.


Immunomodulatory effects Macrophages Rhodomyrtus tomentosa Rhodomyrtone Rainbow trout 



This work was funded by the Higher Education Research Promotion and National Research University Project of Thailand, Office of the Higher Education Commission for Ph.D. scholarship, TRF Senior Research Scholar (Grant No. RTA5880005), the Faculty of Science Research Fund in fiscal year 2015, Faculty of Science, Prince of Songkla University, and AGL2013-48835-C2 of MINECO (Spain). L Tort, M Teles, and C Fierro-Castro are members of the Xarxa d’Aquicultura de Catalunya. M Teles has a post-doctoral fellowship from FCT (SFRH/BPD/109219/2015) supported by the European Social Fund and national funds from the “Ministério da Educação e Ciência (POPH – QREN – Tipologia 4.1)” of Portugal. JC Balasch is thankfully acknowledged for the graphic design of the figures.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pinanong Na-Phatthalung
    • 1
  • Mariana Teles
    • 2
  • Supayang Piyawan Voravuthikunchai
    • 1
  • Lluís Tort
    • 2
  • Camino Fierro-Castro
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Microbiology and Excellence Research Laboratory on Natural Products, Faculty of Science and Natural Product Research Center of ExcellencePrince of Songkla UniversityHat YaiThailand
  2. 2.Department of Cell Biology, Physiology and ImmunologyUniversitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

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