Haematological and Immunological Responses in Juvenile Sea Bass (Dicentrarchus labrax L.) After Short-Term Acute Stress

Giulia Maricchiolo*, Gabriella Caruso , Lucrezia Genovese
National Research Council, Istituto per l’Ambiente Marino Costiero, Messina, Italy

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© 2008 Maricchiolo et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the National Research Council, Istituto per l’Ambiente Marino Costiero, Spianata S. Raineri, 86 – 98122 Messina, Italy; Tel: (+39) 90 669003; Fax: (+39) 90 669007; E-mail:


The physiological effects of acute stress (induced by an intraperitoneal injection) on the haematocrit, haemoglobin, serum cortisol and glucose, haemagglutinins and lysozyme were investigated in juvenile sea bass Dicentrarchus labrax. A total of 40 fish were subjected to an intraperitoneal injection. Eight fish were sampled at 0, 2, 4, 24 and 48 h after acute stress and compared to unstressed fish (controls) sacrificed at the same times. Intraperitoneal injection resulted in significant changes in cortisol and glucose 4 and 2 hours after exposure to stress, respectively, but not in haematocrit and haemoglobin levels. No significant differences between stressed and control fish were recorded for lysozyme content and haemagglutinating activity throughout the experiment. In juvenile sea bass acute stress caused by intraperitoneal injection was mostly associated with the increase in common stress indicators (cortisol and glucose), while no clear response in terms of non-specific immune parameters was evidenced.

Keywords: Dicentrarchus labrax, acute stress, intraperitoneal injection, cortisol, glucose, haematocrit, haemoglobin, nonspecific immune parameters.