Dietary gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) supplementation increases food intake, influences the expression of feeding-related genes and improves digestion and growth of Chinese mitten crab (Eriocheir sinensis)

Cong Zhang, Xiaodan Wang, Ruiying Su, Jiaqi He, Shubin Liu, Qincheng Huang, Chuanjie Qin, Meiling Zhang, Jianguang Qin, Liqiao Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Animal growth performance is determined by food intake, digestion and nutrient absorption and the complex central and peripheral nerves may regulate the quantity of food intake. This study evaluates the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) supplements in purified diets on the growth performance, food intake and digestive ability of juvenile Chinese mitten crab Eriocheir sinensis, and the possible mechanism of neuromodulation. A total of 1200 juvenile crabs (0.77 ± 0.02 g) were fed with six diets supplemented with graded GABA levels (0, 40, 80, 160, 320 and 640 mg/kg dry matter) for 8 weeks. Each diet group had five replicates, and each replicate had 40 crabs in a tank (100 × 80 × 60 cm). The weight gain, specific growth rate, molting frequency, and the activities of digestion (α-amylase, trypsin and lipase) and absorption (Na+-K+-ATPase and γ- glutamyl transferase) enzymes were significantly increased by moderate dietary GABA supplementation compared with the 0 mg/kg GABA supplementation group. Furthermore, the food intake of juvenile E. sinensis was significantly increased with moderate dietary GABA supplementation compared with the 0 mg/kg GABA supplementation group. The qRT-PCR results showed that the expression of the orexigenic neural signal-related genes was significantly up-regulated, and the anorexigenic neural signal-related genes were significantly down-regulated in the cranial ganglia, thoracic ganglia and intestine tissues. Meanwhile, the expressions of the main genes involved in taste modulation and reward regulation were significantly up-regulated, whereas the expression of genes related to punishment regulation was significantly down-regulated in cranial ganglia and thoracic ganglia. Two-slope broken-line regression analysis of specific growth rate and weight gain against the dietary GABA levels showed that dietary GABA at the optimal dietary level was 84–89 mg/kg, and this level can improve growth performance, food intake, digestion and absorption in juvenile E. sinensis. GABA might act as an orexigenic neural signal or work with other appetite-related nerve signals to promote food intake by participating in regulating the satiety circuit and the reward circuit.

Original languageEnglish
Article number737332
Number of pages10
JournalAquaculture
Volume546
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2022

Keywords

  • Appetite regulation
  • Digestive enzymes
  • Eriocheir sinensis
  • Gene expression
  • Growth performance

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