Gut physiology of rainbow trout ( Oncorhynchus mykiss ) is influenced more by short-term fasting followed by refeeding than by feeding fishmeal-free diets

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Supplementing a fishmeal-free diet with yeast extract improves rainbow trout ( Oncorhynchus mykiss ) growth performance and modulates the hepatic and intestinal transcriptomic response. These effects are often observed in the long term, but are not well documented after short periods of fasting. Fasting for a few days is a common practice in fish farming, especially before handling the fish, such as for short sorting, tank transfers and vaccinations. In the present study, rainbow trout were subjected to a four-day fast and then refed, for eight days, a conventional diet containing fishmeal (control diet) or alternative diets composed of terrestrial animal by-products supplemented or not with a yeast extract. During the refeeding period alone, most of the parameters considered did not differ significantly in response to the different feeds. Only the expression of claudin-15 was upregulated in fish fed the yeast-supplemented diet compared to the control diet. Conversely, fasting followed by refeeding significantly influenced most of the parameters analyzed. In the proximal intestine, the surface area of villi significantly increased and the density of goblet cell tended to decrease during refeeding. Although no distinct plasma immune response or major signs of gut inflammation were observed, some genes involved in the structure, complement pathway, antiviral functions, coagulation and endoplasmic reticulum stress response of the liver and intestine were significantly regulated by refeeding after fasting. These results indicate that short-term fasting, as commonly practiced in fish farming, significantly alters the physiology of the liver and intestine regardless of the composition of the diet.

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