The changes in ambient salinity influence ion and water homeostasis, hormones secretion, and immune response in fish gills. The physiological functions of hormones and ion transporters in the regulation of gill-osmoregulation have been widely studied, however the modulation of immune response under salinity changes is not determined. Using transcriptome sequencing, we obtained a comprehensive profile of osmo-responsive genes in gill cells of Japanese eel (Anguilla japonica). Herein, we applied bioinformatics analysis to identify the immune-related genes that were significantly higher expressed in gill pavement cells (PVCs) and mitochondrial-rich cells (MRCs) in freshwater (FW) than seawater (SW) adapted fish. We validated the data using the real-time qPCR, which showed a high correlation between the RNA-seq and real-time qPCR data. In addition, the immunohistochemistry results confirmed the changes of the expression of selected immune-related genes, including C-reactive protein (CRP) in PVCs, toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) in MRCs and interleukin-1 receptor type 2 (IL-1R2) in both PVCs and MRCs. Collectively our results demonstrated that those immune-related genes respond to salinity changes, and might trigger related special signaling pathways and network. This study provides new insights into the impacts of ambient salinity changes on adaptive immune response in fish gill cells.
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