The development of vaccines for aquaculture has been an important milestone in providing a continuous and sustainable production. Most of the vaccines currently on the market for aquaculture include oil as adjuvant. Nevertheless, several studies reported an occurrence of side effects after their use in farmed fish. As a result, there is a need for new and improved adjuvants that can stimulate the immune system while causing as few side-effects as possible. Hemocyanins are versatile macromolecules with strong immunogenic and immunomodulatory properties. Due to these characteristics, hemocyanin from Concholepas concholepas (CCH) has been biochemically characterized and evaluated as vaccine adjuvant in mice and humans. Francisellosis is a chronic granulomatous disease, which can result in high mortality depending on the host. The disease is caused by the facultative intracellular Gram-negative bacteria Francisella noatunensis, which remains an unsolved problem for the aquaculture, as no efficient vaccines are available. The aim of the present work was to investigate the immunoregulatory properties of CCH against francisellosis in an experimental zebrafish model. When immunized with CCH, zebrafish were protected from subsequent challenge with a lethal dose of Francisella noatunensis subsp. orientalis. Subsequently the mRNA expression levels of several immune-related genes were studied, including mhcii, il12a, tnfα and ifng1-1. Taken together, the data report the immunoregulatory properties of CCH and its potential use as a vaccine adjuvant for aquaculture.
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