This study explored the possible preventive effects of dietary phenylalanine (Phe) on antioxidant responses, apoptosis and tight junction protein transcription in the gills of young grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella). Fish were fed six different experimental diets containing graded levels of Phe (3.4 -16.8 g kg(-1)) for 8 weeks. The results showed that Phe deficiency induced protein oxidation and lipid peroxidation by decreasing the glutathione content and the activities and mRNA levels of Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1), catalase (CAT), glutathione peroxidase (GPx), glutathione reductase (GR) and glutathione-S-transferase (GST) in fish gill (P < 0.05). These results may be ascribed to the down regulation of NF-E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2), target of rapamycin (TOR) and ribosomal protein S6 kinase 1 (S6K1), and the upregulation of Kelch-like-ECH-associated protein 1 a (Keap1 a) expression in grass carp gills (P < 0.05). Additionally, Phe deficiency induced DNA fragmentation via the up-regulation of Caspase 3, Caspase 8 and Caspase 9 mRNA expression (P < 0.05). These results may be ascribed to the improvement in reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels in the fish gills (P < 0.05). Furthermore, the results indicated that Phe deficiency decreased Claudin b, Claudin 3, Occludin and ZO-1 transcription and increased Claudin 15 expression in the fish gills (P < 0.05). These effects were partly due to the down regulation of interleukin 10 (IL-10), transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) and inhibitor factor kappa B alpha (i kappa B alpha) and the upregulation of relative mRNA expression of interleukin 1 beta (IL-1 beta), interleukin 8 (IL-8), tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and nuclear transcription factor-kappa B p65 (NF-kappa B p65) (P < 0.05). Taken together, the results showed that Phe deficiency impaired the structural integrity of fish gills by regulating the expression of tight junction proteins, cytokines, antioxidant enzymes, NF-kappa B p65, i kappa B alpha, TOR, Nrf2, Keap1 and apoptosis-related genes in the fish gills. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program)(2014CB138600)
; Science and Technology Support Program of Sichuan Province of China(2014NZ0003)
; Major Scientific and Technological Achievement Transformation Project of Sichuan Province of China(2012NC0007
; Demonstration of Major Scientific and Technological Achievement Transformation Project of Sichuan Province of China(2015CC0011)
; Natural Science Foundation for Young Scientists of Sichuan Province(2014JQ0007)
; Outstanding Talents and Innovative Team of Agricultural Scientific Research (Ministry of Agriculture)
; National Department Public Benefit Research Foundation (Agriculture) of China(201003020)