Two rapeseed (Brassica napus) meals, RM1 and RM2, with two levels of glucosinolates (GLS; 5 and 41 μmol/g DM respectively) were incorporated at the levels of 300 and 500 g/kg of the diets of juvenile rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in replacement of fish meal, and compared with a fish-meal-based diet. A decrease in the digestibility of the DM, protein, gross energy and P was observed with high-rapeseed meal (RM) incorporation. In trout fed on RM-based diets, growth performance was reduced even after only 3 weeks of feeding. Feed efficiency was adversely affected by RM and GLS intake. Protein and energy retention coefficients were significantly lower in fish fed on the diet containing the higher level of GLS. P retention was significantly lower with all the RM-based diets than with the fish-meal diet. Irrespective of the degree of growth inhibition, fish fed on RM-based diets exhibited similar typical features of hypothyroid condition due to GLS intake, expressed by lower plasma levels of triiodothyronine and especially thyroxine and a hyperactivity of the thyroid follicles. This hypothyroidal condition led to a strong adjustment of the deiodinase activities in the liver, the kidney and the brain. A significant increase of the outer ring deiodinase activities (deiodinases type I and II respectively) and a decrease of the inner ring deiodinase activity (deiodinase type III) were observed. It is concluded that the observed growth depression could be attributed to the concomitant presence of GLS, depressing the thyroid function, and of other antinutritional factors affecting digestibility and the metabolic utilization of dietary nutrients and energy.
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