Influences of dietary vitamin D3 on growth, antioxidant capacity, immunity and molting of Chinese mitten crab (Eriocheir sinensis) larvae

Shubin Liu, Xiaodan Wang, Xianyong Bu, Cong Zhang, Fang Qiao, Chuanjie Qin, Erchao Li, Jian G. Qin, Liqiao Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigates the effects of vitamin D3 (VD3) on growth performance, antioxidant capacity, immunity and molting of larval Chinese mitten crab Eriocheir sinensis. A total of 6,000 larvae (7.52 ± 0.10 mg) were fed with six isonitrogenous and isolipidic experimental diets with different levels of dietary VD3 (0, 3000, 6000, 9000, 12000 and 36000 IU/kg) respectively for 23 days. The highest survival and molting frequency were found in crabs fed 6000 IU/kg VD3. Weight gain, specific growth rate, and carapace growth significantly increased in crabs fed 3000 and 6000 IU/kg VD3 compared to the control. Broken-line analysis of molting frequency, weight gain and specific growth rate against dietary VD3 levels indicates that the optimal VD3 requirement for larval crabs is 4825–5918 IU/kg. The highest whole-body VD3 content occurred in the 12000 IU/kg VD3 group, and the 25-dihydroxy VD3 content decreased with the increase of dietary VD3. The malonaldehyde content was lower than the control. Moreover, the superoxide dismutase activity, glutathione peroxidase and total antioxidant capacity of crab fed 6000 IU/kg VD3 were significantly higher than in control. Crabs fed 9000 IU/kg showed the highest survival after 120 h of salinity stress, and the relative mRNA expressions indicate vitamin D receptor (VDR) is the important regulatory element in molting and innate immunity. The molting-related gene expressions showed that the response of crab to salinity was self-protective. This study would contribute to a new understanding of the molecular basis underlying molting and innate immunity regulation by vitamin D3 in E. sinensis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105862
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Eriocheir sinensis
  • Immunity
  • Molting
  • Salinity stress
  • Vitamin D


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