Modulation of the fish immune system by hormones
Immune–neuroendocrine interactions in fish, as in mammals, have become a focus of considerable interest, with the modulation of immune responses by hormones receiving particular attention. Cortisol, growth hormone (GH), prolactin (PRL), reproductive hormones, melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) and proopiomelanocortin (POMC)-derived peptides have all been shown to influence immune functions in a number of fish species. This review summarises the known effects of these hormones on the fish immune system, as well as the often complex interactions between different hormones. The possible implications for fish health, with respect to aquaculture and the changes in immunocompetence that take place during different stages in the fish life cycle are also discussed.