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Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol. 2012 Jul;162(3):219-26. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2012.03.008. Epub 2012 Mar 20.

Effects of dietary vitamin B₁ (thiamine) and magnesium on the survival, growth and histological indicators in lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) juveniles.

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School of Environment and Natural Resources, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.


An interaction of two essential nutrients, thiamine and magnesium (Mg) has been documented in in vitro and in vivo studies in mammalian metabolism. However, the role of this association in poikilothermic vertebrates, such as fish, remains elusive. The purpose of this study was first to investigate the effects of dietary thiamine and Mg, and their interaction in lake trout and second to better understand the mechanism leading to early mortality syndrome (EMS), which is caused by a low thiamine level in embryos of many species of salmonids in the wild. Semi-purified diets (SPD) were prepared to accomplish 2 × 2 factorial design that were either devoid of or supplemented with thiamine mononitrate (20 mg/kg diet), magnesium oxide (700 mg/kg diet), or both. Lake trout alevins at the swim-up stage were fed for 10 wk one of the SPD diets or a commercial diet at the same rate (2.0-1.5%) based on recorded biomass. Our results showed that the concentrations of thiamine in the trunk muscle and Mg of whole body were closely associated with the dietary level of two nutrients. The interaction of low dietary Mg and thiamine resulted in apparently worsened overt symptoms of thiamine deficiency in lake trout leading to a higher mortality of fish during the seven week long trial (P<0.05). The fish fed a thiamine-devoid and Mg-supplemented diet were presumed to survive longer (10 wk) than the fish fed diets devoid of both nutrients (discontinued after 7th wk due to high mortality). However, we did not observe histopathological changes in the brain and liver corresponding to thiamine concentrations in tissues. These data suggest that Mg enhanced utilization of the thiamine remaining in the fish body and its interdependence was consistent with observations in mammals. EMS severity might be worsened when Mg is deficient in parental diets (and consequently in yolk sac) and/or first feed.

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