Developmental defects and behavioral changes in a diet-induced inflammation model of zebrafish

Saima Rehman, Adnan H. Gora, Shubham Varshney, Jorge Dias, Pål A. Olsvik, Jorge M.O. Fernandes, Sylvia Brugman, Viswanath Kiron*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Soybean meal evokes diet-induced intestinal inflammation in certain fishes. Although the molecular aspects of soybean-induced intestinal inflammation in zebrafish are known, the impact of the inflammatory diet on fish behavior remain largely underexplored. We fed zebrafish larvae with three diets - control, soybean meal and soybean meal with β-glucan to gain deeper insight into the behavioral changes associated with the soybean meal-induced inflammation model. We assessed the effect of the diets on the locomotor behavior, morphological development, oxygen consumption and larval transcriptome. Our study revealed that dietary soybean meal can reduce the locomotor activity, induce developmental defects and increase the oxygen demand in zebrafish larvae. Transcriptomic analysis pointed to the suppression of genes linked to visual perception, organ development, phototransduction pathway and activation of genes linked to the steroid biosynthesis pathway. On the contrary, β-glucan, an anti-inflammatory feed additive, counteracted the behavioral and phenotypic changes linked to dietary soybean. Although we did not identify any differentially expressed genes from the soybean meal alone fed group vs soybean meal + β-glucan-fed group comparison, the unique genes from the comparisons of the two groups with the control likely indicate reduction in inflammatory cytokine signaling, inhibition of proteolysis and induction of epigenetic modifications by the dietary glucan. Furthermore, we found that feeding an inflammatory diet at the larval stage can lead to long-lasting developmental defects. In conclusion, our study reveals the extra-intestinal manifestations associated with soybean meal-induced inflammation model.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1018768
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2022


  • behavior
  • inflammation
  • soybean meal
  • zebrafish
  • β-glucan


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