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Use of immunohistochemistry to characterise bacterial infections of marine fish larvae

Immunolabelling methods may provide insights into the whereabout of infectious organisms in their hosts. Knowledge of the sites of entry, penetration of the hosts epithelium or epidermis, and the sites of proliferation of the pathogen, provide insights in the action of the pathogen.

In addition, knowledge of the damages caused by the infection to the various tissues of the host may provide additional understanding fo the modes of action of a pathogen, and its interactions with its host.

Immunohistochemical protocols have been developed using turbot larvae challenged with two different Vibrio spp. as model systems. Vibrio anguillarum strain 90-11-287 was generally detected in the epidermis of the larvae, despite added via water or rotifers. Only in a few cases, the bacterium provided any damages to the gastrointestinal tract. In contrast, Vibrio splendidus strain DMC-1 was dependent on oral challenge in order to induce mortality.

In the latter case, damages to the host was concentrated in the gastrointestinal tract. In both cases clearly moribund larvae was characterised by systemic infections, with labelled bacterial cells detected in most organs.

The project has demonstrated that immunohistochemistry is a powerful diagnostic tool applied to fish larvae.

Reported by

Institute for Marine Research
5187 Bergen
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