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Responses of Squalius cephalus intestinal mucous cells to Pomphorhynchus laevis

Bosi, Giampaolo, Sayyaf Dezfuli, Bahram
Parasitology international 2015 v.64 no.2 pp. 167-172
Acanthocephala, Squalius cephalus, endoparasites, fish, gills, hyperplasia, hypertrophy, intestines, midgut, mucins, mucus, parasitism, rivers, Italy
Intestinal mucous cell numbers and their glycoconjugate composition were investigated by histochemical methods in uninfected chub, Squalius cephalus, and in conspecifics naturally parasitised with the acanthocephalan Pomphorhynchus laevis. A sub-population of 42 chub from the River Tiber (Perugia, Italy) were sampled and screened for ecto and endoparasites. No parasites were found in gills and in other visceral organs of chub and P. laevis appeared to be the only enteric worm encountered. In all infected chub (twenty-eight out of 42) this acanthocephalan was encountered mainly in the mid-gut. In situ, an excessive yellowish mucus or catarrh was observed around each acanthocephalan. Hyperplasia and hypertrophy of the mucous cells were only evident near the site of P. laevis attachment where the total number of mucous cells and the number of those containing acidic, particularly non-sulphated mucins, or mixed glycoconjugates were significantly higher. In intestinal regions of infected fish far away from the point of parasite attachment, there were no statistical differences in the density of mucous cells in comparison to uninfected fish. Interestingly, in parasitised chub, the length of intestinal folds was significantly larger close to the sites at which P. laevis attach when compared to the length of the intestinal folds located further away from the acanthocephalans and/or in uninfected intestines. The effect of P. laevis on intestinal mucous cells of S. cephalus was compared to other parasite–host systems and the role of enhanced mucus production in parasitized intestines was discussed.