The melatonin hormone in fish, a crucial link between light environment, stress and immunity

Project: Research

Project Details


In aquaculture, fish are submitted to several environmental stresses. Light,
essential to vision, is an important part of animal welfare and species have
light preferences since they are adapted to their natural environment. In
addition, the day-night cycle is crucial for organisms by entraining through
melatonin hormone many biological pathways. While few studies have
addressed this topic in teleosts, except the hormonal control of reproductive
cycles, it has been shown in mammals that melatonin has a key role in the
interaction between the neuroendocrine system and the immune system.
Melatonin appears to regulate cell dynamics, including the proliferative and
maturational stages of virtually all haemopoietic and immune cells lineages.
The limited available data suggest that melatonin is also a key hormone in
the regulation of immune parameters in teleost in response to light
The biological model is the pikeperch (Sander lucioperca). This species has
a high aquaculture potential whose development remains limited due to
sudden mortalities. This species responds strongly to stress, which would
impact the immune status and induce high mortality. According to
preliminary studies, it has been hypothesized that light, whose intensity is
amplified by a tapetum lucidum in the retina, is a determining factor for its
welfare. Melatonin would play a central role in this process by being an
intermediary between the light, the axis control of the physiological
response to stress and the immune system. This project, through various in
vivo and in vitro experiments, investigates the contribution of melatonin
hormone in response to stressful light conditions and aims to better
understand the mechanisms involved in its potential immuno-modulatory
Short titleMelatonin, stress and immunity in fish
Effective start/end date1/10/1631/12/18

Attachment to an Research Institute in UNAMUR

  • ILEE


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