Principal Investigator
Sónia Gomes

Leader Institution

Research Teams



BASSinCELLS: European seaBASS immune intestinal CELLS - development of in vitro cell culture model for evaluation of phagocytic and immune activity of intestinal cells

The increasing demand for European seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax) led to the intensification of farming practises resulting in increased stress and disease outbreaks in aquaculture. Fish health and welfare relies heavily on hematopoietic organs (head kidney and spleen) function, but also on mucosa-associated lymphoid tissues (MALTs). Within MALTs, the gut-associated lymphoid tissues (GALTs) are known to play a key role in the maintenance of host homeostasis. The wider knowledge-gap of the intestinal immune system of fish compared to mammals poses a barrier to the development of efficient tools to enhance fish immunity. Up to now, progress in understanding immunity in European seabass, namely the phagocytic activity of the intestine cells is hampered by the high cost of raising fish in the laboratory for extend periods. The development of the first two-dimensional (2D) intestinal cell culture model for European seabass would, among other benefits, limit the animal-use and would allow us to characterise these cell populations that play key roles in the fish immune response, a fascinating topic with wide application in aquaculture envisaging increased fish robustness in intensive production systems.
The aim of BASSinCELLS is to generate a platform based on an in vitro cell culture model to investigate immune-based seabass responses at the intestinal level, creating synergies between the aquaculture research line of CIIMAR and Nord University (NU, Norway).