Abstract - Diamant et al. 2006

Experimental transmission of Enteromyxum leei to freshwater fish

A. Diamant, S. Ram and I. Paperna
Diseases of Aquatic Organisms, In press
Enteromyxum leei is known to infect a wide range of marine fish hosts. The objective of the present study was to determine whether freshwater fish species are also receptive hosts to this parasite. Seventeen species of freshwater fish were experimentally fed E. leei-infected gut tissue from donor gilthead sea bream, Sparus aurata obtained from a commercial sea bream cage farm. Four of the tested species, tiger barb Puntius tetrazona, zebra danio Danio rerio, oscar Astronotus ocellatus and Mozambique tilapia Oreochromis mossambicus were found susceptible, with prevalences ranging from 53% to 90%. The course of infection and pathology was limited to the gut mucosa epithelium and similar to that observed in marine hosts. Little is known on the differences between the physiological conditions encountered by a parasite in the alimentary tract of freshwater vs. marine teleost hosts, but we assume that a similar osmotic environment is determined in both regulatory mechanisms. Parasite infectivity may be influenced by differences in presence or absence of a true stomach, acidic gastric pH and digestive enzyme activity, both in the stomach and intestine. Variability in susceptibility between species may also stem from differences in innate immunity. Dimensions of the spores produced are variable in size in the donor sea bream and recipient freshwater species, as previously observed in other captive marine host species.
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