Gamma-aminobutyric acid enhances hypoxia tolerance of juvenile Chinese mitten crab (Eriocheir sinensis) by regulating respiratory metabolism and alleviating neural excitotoxicity

Cong Zhang, Jiaqi He, Xiaodan Wang, Yiwen Yang, Qincheng Huang, Fang Qiao, Qingchao Shi, Jianguang Qin, Liqiao Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


With climate change and intensive aquaculture development, environmental hypoxia in aquaculture water has become a common challenge for many aquatic species. Therefore, it is crucial to improve the hypoxic tolerance of animals through nutritional strategies. This study explored the positive role of dietary gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) supplementation in enhancing hypoxia tolerance of juvenile Eriocheir sinensis through respiratory regulation and alleviation of hypoxia-induced neural excitotoxicity. Acute hypoxia stress significantly up-regulated the mRNA expression level of hypoxia-inducible factor 1α, oxygen consumption rate and anaerobic respiratory metabolism-related enzyme activities. On the other hand, aerobic respiratory metabolism-related enzyme activities were significantly decreased. However, dietary GABA supplementation remodeled the respiratory metabolism pattern of juvenile crabs exposed to hypoxia stress. In addition, acute hypoxic stress significantly increased the contents of free glutamate and GABA in the nervous tissue. The expression levels of N-Methyl-D-aspartate-related receptor genes and calcium-dependent degradation enzyme-related genes were significantly up-regulated. Similarly, neuronal apoptosis rates, expression levels of apoptosis-related genes, and vesicular glutamate transporter genes were also significantly increased. The high-affinity neuronal glutamate transporter decreased significantly in the crabs exposed to hypoxia stress. However, dietary GABA supplementation could effectively prevent acute hypoxia stress-induced neural excitotoxicity. Furthermore, dietary GABA could significantly improve the redox status in vivo exposed to hypoxia stress. In conclusion, acute hypoxia stress can affect respiratory metabolism and redox state and induce neural excitotoxicity in juvenile E. sinensis. GABA supplementation could improve hypoxia tolerance through multiple physiological regulation pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109409
Number of pages10
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part - C: Toxicology and Pharmacology
Early online date10 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


  • Eriocheir sinensis
  • GABA
  • Hypoxia
  • Neural excitotoxicity
  • Respiratory metabolism


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