Effects of dietary arginine and glutamine on growth performance, immune responses and intestinal structure of red drum, Sciaenops ocellatus Academic Article uri icon


  • Both arginine and glutamine play important roles in tissue repair, cell replication and collagen synthesis which impact animal growth and survival. Thus, a 7-week feeding trial was conducted to determine the effects of dietary arginine and glutamine on growth performance, innate immune responses and intestinal structure of juvenile red drum, Sciaenops ocellatus (6.9 0.04. g, initial average weight). Protein in all experimental diets was derived from menhaden fishmeal and dehulled, solvent-extracted soybean meal to provide isonitrogenous (44% crude protein) and isolipidic (10%) diets. The basal diet contained 0.14% glutamine and 1.72% arginine on a dry-matter basis, which exceeds the established dietary requirement of red drum. Experimental diets were prepared by supplementing the basal diet with either arginine at 1% of dry weight, glutamine at 1%, glutamine at 2%, or both arginine and glutamine at 1%, with adjustments in glycine to maintain equal nitrogen among all diets.Feed efficiency was significantly (P< 0.05) improved by supplementation of glutamine at 2% and the combination of both arginine and glutamine at 1% of diet. Neutrophil oxidative radical production in fish fed the glutamine and/or arginine-supplemented diets was significantly (P= 0.03) higher compared with that of fish fed the basal diet, with a synergistic effect observed in fish fed the combined arginine-glutamine diet. Significantly (P< 0.05) higher serum lysozyme activity also was observed in fish fed the diet supplemented with 1% of both arginine and glutamine. Extracellular superoxide anion production by red drum macrophages was significantly (P< 0.05) higher for fish fed diets with glutamine at either 1 or 2% and the 1% arginine-glutamine combination compared to fish fed the basal diet. Similarly, macrophages from fish fed the diet with glutamine at 2% and the arginine-glutamine combination at 1% produced significantly higher amounts of intracellular superoxide anion.Morphometric analyses - i.e., measurements of enterocyte, microvillus and fold heights - demonstrated positive effects of both dietary glutamine and arginine in different portions (proximal, mid and distal) of the gastrointestinal tract of red drum. In general, fish fed the diet supplemented with 2% glutamine had the greatest increases in magnitude of the chosen structures, although those fed the diet with arginine at 1% also yielded improved scores for some enteric portions. Therefore, results from the present study establish the importance of both dietary arginine and glutamine supplementation in improving feed efficiency, as well as eliciting positive changes to several components of the innate immune system and intestinal functionality of red drum. 2011 Elsevier B.V.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Cheng, Z., Buentello, A., & Gatlin, D.

citation count

  • 99

complete list of authors

  • Cheng, Zhenyan||Buentello, Alejandro||Gatlin, Delbert MIII

publication date

  • September 2011