Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar L. were maintained on diets containing low (0.37 mg kg(-1) diet), normal (1.95 mg kg(-1) diet) and high (15 mg kg(-1) diet) levels of vitamin A fed at 1.5% body weight per day. After 4 months, liver vitamin A levels reflected dietary intake and growth rates of all three groups were similar. Kidney leucocyte migration and serum bactericidal activity were found to be significantly reduced in fish fed low levels of vitamin A. On the other hand, high levels of vitamin A in the diet were found to augment serum antiprotease activity relative to the levels found in the other dietary groups. However, phagocyte respiratory burst activity, bactericidal activity and eicosanoid production were unaffected by the dietary vitamin A regime, as were lymphocyte functions (lymphokine and antibody production) and both serum lysozyme and classical complement activity. That the overall immunomodulatory effect of vitamin A was small was reflected in the resistance to Aeromonas salmonicida. No significant differences were found between the different vitamin A intake groups despite a trend to decreased resistance in the low vitamin A diet group.
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