Anti-inflammatory effects of aloe vera on soy meal-induced intestinal inflammation in zebrafish

Soybean meal is one of the most promising alternatives to replace fishmeal in the aquaculture industry. However, its ingestion triggers an intestinal inflammatory process that compromises fish health and nutrition. Therefore, finding strategies that reduce the deleterious effects of a soy protein-based diet are relevant. In this work we analyzed the effects of an aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis miller, AV) extract on intestinal inflammation and innate immunity of zebrafish by adding it to the water and by supplementing it in a soybean meal-based diet. To search for potential immunomodulatory effects of AV, we tested its effectiveness in two inflammation assays and compared fish fed with either fishmeal or soybean meal-based feed supplemented with AV. Our results show a strong anti-inflammatory effect of AV. Furthermore, while soy-based meal strongly induces the expression of inflammation markers, supplementation with AV reverted this effect. Finally, we show that fish fed with a soy meal diet are highly susceptible to bacterial infection, but that this condition is significantly reduced when the soy meal is supplemented with AV. Our results suggest that AV is a good candidate to be incorporated as an additive in farmed fish diets to facilitate the replacement of fishmeal by soybean meal, maintaining intestinal health.

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