The ability of immune defense and resistance to physiological stress is crucial to animal health and survival. This study investigated the regulation of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) on metabolic homeostasis and its enhancement of hepatopancreas health in juvenile Chinese mitten crab (Eriocheir sinensis) under food deprivation. Juvenile crabs of 400 individuals were divided into four treatment groups: a control group without injection, and injections with a phosphate-buffered saline solution, 100 μmol GABA/mL and 1000 μmol GABA/mL, respectively. Hypoglycemia was induced by fasting, whereas the GABA treatment regulated hemolymph glucose homeostasis. The quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) results showed that the GABA treatment significantly up-regulated the mRNA expression levels of crustacean hyperglycemic hormone (CHH) and pyruvate kinase (PK). In contrast, the expression of E. sinensis insulin-like peptide (EsILP) was significantly down-regulated in the cranial ganglia, thoracic ganglia and hepatopancreas. Moreover, acid phosphatase (ACP), alkaline phosphatase (AKP), aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) activities were significantly increased in the hepatopancreas by the GABA treatment. Furthermore, the hemocyanin content in serum was significantly increased with the GABA injection, and the glutathione (GSH) content, total superoxide dismutase (T-SOD) activity and catalase (CAT) activity in the hepatopancreas showed a similar increasing trend with the dose elevation of GABA. Therefore, these results indicate that GABA can effectively maintain the hemolymph glucose homeostasis by regulating the levels of glucose metabolism-related hormones and key enzymes to promote the degradation and utilization of hepatopancreas glycogen. Meanwhile, GABA can improve the hepatopancreas function and immune status of juvenile E. sinensis under fasting stress. The treatment with GABA may provide a clue to guide health management in crab farming.
- Eriocheir sinensis
- Glucose homeostasis
- Hepatopancreas function and immunity