In teleost fish, myelopoiesis is maintained both in the head (HK) and trunk kidney (TK), but only the HK holds the endocrine cells that produce the stress hormone cortisol. We now compared the effects of prolonged restraint stress (in vivo) and cortisol (in vitro) on the polarization of HK and TK-derived carp macrophages. Monocytes/macrophages from both sources were treated in vitro with cortisol, lipopolysaccharide or with both factors combined. In vivo, fish were challenged by a prolonged restraint stress. Gene expression of several markers typical for classical M1 and alternative M2 macrophage polarization, as well as glucocorticoid receptors, were measured. Cells from both sources did not differ in the constitutive gene expression of glucocorticoid receptors, whereas they significantly differed in their response to cortisol and stress. In the LPS-stimulated HK monocytes/macrophages, cortisol in vitro counteracted the action of LPS while the effects of cortisol on the activity of TK monocytes/macrophages were less explicit. In vivo, restraint stress up-regulated gene expression of M2 markers in freshly isolated HK monocytes/macrophages, while at the same time it did not affect TK monocytes/macrophages. Moreover, LPS-stimulated HK monocytes/macrophages from stressed animals showed only minor differences in the gene expression of M1 and M2 markers, compared to LPS-treated monocytes/macrophages from control fish. In contrast, stress-induced changes in TK-derived LPS-treated cells were more pronounced. However, these changes did not clearly indicate whether in TK monocytes/macrophages stress will stimulate classical or alternative polarization. Altogether, our results imply that cortisol in vitro and stress in vivo direct HK, but not TK, monocytes/macrophages to the path of alternative polarization. These findings reveal that like in mammals, also in fish the glucocorticoids form important stimulators of alternative macrophage polarization.
- Head kidney
- Trunk kidney