Use of vitamin C as an immunostimulant. Effect on growth, nutritional quality, and immune response of Labeo rohita (Ham.)

Fish Physiol Biochem. 2008 Sep;34(3):251-9. doi: 10.1007/s10695-007-9184-z. Epub 2007 Oct 6.


Teleost fish lack the enzyme for endogenous synthesis of ascorbic acid (AA), an essential micronutrient for fish. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of higher levels of dietary vitamin C on growth, nutritional quality, and immunomodulation in the Indian major carp, rohu (Labeo rohita). Four groups of L. rohita were fed experimental diets containing either no vitamin C (control) or supplemented with vitamin C at 500 mg kg(-1) (Exp-1), 1000 mg kg(-1) (Exp-2), or 1500 mg kg(-1) (Exp-3) for 60 days. Growth parameters (NWG, ADG, and SGR), serological parameters (TSP, TSA, TSG, and A:G), haematological parameters (TLC, TEC, Hct, MCV, and MCH), and different non-specific immunological parameters (PR, PI, respiratory burst activity, and bactericidal activity) were evaluated during the experimental trial. Fish fed a vitamin C-supplemented diet showed higher specific growth rate (SGR) up to 1000 mg kg(-1) compared with control fish. Different haematological and serological parameters along with non-specific immune parameters were influenced by vitamin C supplementation. Among the non-specific immune parameters phagocytic activity (PR and PI) and respiratory burst activity (NBT cells) were significantly (P < or = 0.05) enhanced by increasing doses of vitamin C supplementation. Higher levels of dietary vitamin C significantly (P < or = 0.05) enhanced protection against Aeromonas hydrophila (AH1) infection compared with controls. Results from this study help to establish the beneficial effect of vitamin C on growth and immunmodulation in rohu (L. rohita).

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / administration & dosage
  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / pharmacology*
  • Aeromonas hydrophila / immunology
  • Alanine Transaminase / metabolism
  • Animal Feed / analysis
  • Animals
  • Ascorbic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Ascorbic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases / metabolism
  • Cyprinidae / growth & development
  • Cyprinidae / immunology*
  • Cyprinidae / physiology*
  • DNA / analysis
  • Diet / veterinary
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Fish Diseases / immunology
  • Fish Diseases / microbiology
  • Gram-Negative Bacterial Infections / immunology
  • Gram-Negative Bacterial Infections / veterinary
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / enzymology
  • Muscles / chemistry
  • Phagocytosis / drug effects
  • RNA / analysis
  • Survival Analysis


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • RNA
  • DNA
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases
  • Alanine Transaminase
  • Ascorbic Acid