Carla Ribeiro


Carla Ribeiro

E-mail: Carla Sampaio Ribeiro


Currently at AMC

Use of immunostimulants to enhance the defense system of fish

Carla Sampaio Ribeirohas been awarded a PhD grant by Fundação Ciência e Tecnologia from Portugal. on ‘Use of immunostimulants to enhance innate defense mechanisms of fish’. She has started in January 2006.

Immunostimulation is considered highly effective in increasing disease resistance of fish that are faced with stress factors in aquaculture. Fish treated with immunostimulants show enhanced general immunocompetence. However, a detailed analysis of the immunostimulants acting on fish pathogen recognition receptors (PRRs) is lacking because of limited knowledge on the ligand-receptor interactions in fish.

We propose to study fish macrophages, characterize the PRRs present and determine the enhanced defence mechanisms by studying a selection of immunostimulants as ligands. We will do so by an immunogenetic characterization of the receptors involved and by characterization of the macrophage activation response. Initial in vitro analyses will lead to defined in vivo experiments determining the protective effects of selected immunostimulants in a disease challenge. Our data will improve the understanding of non-specific defence mechanisms in fish and are expected to lead to a more efficient and sustainable control of fish diseases in aquaculture.

Scientific questions:

In this project we aim to study the potency of immunostimulants to enhance fish defence mechanisms by:

  • describing the pattern recognition receptors present on fish macrophages
  • characterizing the activities of stimulated fish macrophages
  • determining the in vitro and in vivo effect of immunostimulants