The expression patterns of different genes encoding antioxidant enzymes and heat shock proteins were investigated, in present study, by real-time quantitative PCR in the hepatopancreas of abalone Haliotis discus hannai fed with different levels of dietary zinc (6.69, 33.8, 710.6 and 3462.5 mg/kg) for 20 weeks. The antioxidant enzymes include Cu/Zn-superoxide dismutase (Cu/Zn-SOD), Mn-superoxide dismutase (Mn-SOD), catalase (CAT), mu-glutathione-s-transferase (mu-GST) and thioredoxin peroxidase (TPx). The results showed that the mRNA expression of these antioxidant enzymes increased and reached the maximum at the dietary zinc level of 33.8 mg/kg, and then dropped progressively. Expression levels of the heat shock proteins (HSP26, HSP70 and HSP90) firstly increased at 33.8 mg/kg dietary Zn level, and reached to the maximum at 710.6 mg/kg, then dropped at 3462.5 mg/kg (p<0.05). Excessive dietary Zn (710.6 and 3462.5 mg/kg) significantly increases the Zn content and significantly decreases the total antioxidant capacity (T-AOC) in hepatopancreas (p<0.05). These findings showed that dietary Zn (33.8 mg/kg) could highly trigger the expression levels of antioxidant enzymes and heat shock proteins, but excessive dietary Zn (710.6 and 3462.5 mg/kg) induces a high oxidative stress in abalone.
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