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Effect of Ichthyophthirius multifiliis parasitism on the survival, hematology and bacterial load in channel catfish previously exposed to Edwardsiella ictaluri

Shoemaker, Craig A., Martins, Maurício L., Xu, De-Hai, Klesius, Phillip H.
Parasitology Research 2012 v.111 no.5 pp. 2223
Edwardsiella ictaluri, Ichthyophthirius multifiliis, Ictalurus punctatus, anemia, bacteria, brain, ectoparasites, erythrocyte count, gills, hematocrit, hematology, immune response, kidneys, liver, lymphocyte count, lymphocytes, microbial load, mortality, parasitism, polymerase chain reaction
The effect of Ichthyophthirius multifiliis (Ich) parasitism on survival, hematology and bacterial load in channel catfish, Ictalurus punctatus, previously exposed to Edwardsiella ictaluri was studied. Fish were exposed to E. ictaluri 1 day prior to Ich in the following treatments: (1) infected by E. ictaluri and Ich at 2,500 theronts/fish; (2) infected by E. ictaluri only; (3) infected by Ich at 2,500 theronts/fish only; and (4) non infected control. Mortality was significantly higher in fish previously exposed to E. ictaluri and then infected by Ich (71.1 %). Mortalities were 26.7 %, 28.9 % and 0 % for fish infected by E. ictaluri only, by Ich only and non-infected control, respectively. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction demonstrated the presence of E. ictaluri in the brain, gill, kidney and liver of fish infected with E. ictaluri regardless of Ich parasitism. At day 8, E. ictaluri parasitized fish had significantly more bacteria present in the brain, gill and liver, with no bacteria detected in these organs in the E. ictaluri-only treatment, suggesting that the bacteria persisted longer in parasitized fish. Decreased red blood cells count and hematocrit in fish at days 8 and 19 after co-infection suggests chronic anemia. Lymphocyte numbers significantly decreased in all infected treatments versus the non-infected controls at days 2, 8 and 19. Lymphopenia suggests that lymphocytes were actively involved in the immune response. Bacterial clearance was probably influenced by the stress of parasitism and/or the mucosal response induced by ectoparasitic Ich that resulted in the higher mortality seen in the co-infected treatment.