Soybean Meal Induces Intestinal Inflammation in Zebrafish Larvae

Manuel I. Hedrera, Jorge A. Galdames, Maria F. Jimenez-Reyes, Ariel E. Reyes, Ruben Avendaño-Herrera, Jaime Romero, Carmen G. Feijóo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

160 Citations (Scopus)


The necessary replacement of fish meal with other protein source in diets of commercially important fish has prompted the study of the effect of the inclusion of different vegetable proteins sources on growth performance and on the gastro-intestinal tract. Currently, soybean meal is the primary protein source as a fish meal replacement because of its low price and high availability. Likewise, it is been documented that the ingestion of soybean meal by several fish species, such as salmonids and carp, triggers a type of intestinal inflammation called enteritis. In this paper, we analyzed the effects of the ingestion of soybean meal and two of its components, soy protein and soy saponin, on zebrafish to establish the basis for using zebrafish larvae as a model for fish nutrition. We took advantage of the existence of different transgenic lines, which allowed us to perform in vivo analysis. Our results indicated that larvae that were feed with soybean meal developed a clear intestinal inflammation as early as two day after beginning the diet. Moreover, we determined that is not the soy protein present in the diet but the soy saponin that is primarily responsible for triggering the immune response. These findings support the use of zebrafish screening assays to identify novel ingredients that would to improved current fish diets or would formulate new ones.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere69983
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jul 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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