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An epidemiological study of cataracts in wild and farmed lumpfish (Cyclopterus lumpus L.) and the relation to nutrition

Jonassen, T, Hamadi, M, Remø, S C, Waagbø, R
Journal of fish diseases 2017 v.40 no.12 pp. 1903-1914
Cylopterus lumpus, cataract, epidemiological studies, eye lens, fish, free amino acids, heart, histidine, malnutrition, metabolism, muscle tissues, muscles, nutrition
Twelve groups of farmed lumpfish and one of wild lumpfish were screened for cataract and sampled for fish muscle tissue, whole heart and both eye lenses to investigate possible relations between cataract and tissue free amino acid concentrations. Cataract prevalence ranged from 20% to 100%, with the highest average score of 7.3 (max 8) and incidences of severe cataract (>5) in all groups. Cataract could not be explained by suboptimal histidine concentrations in the feed. Neither muscle nor cardiac tissues had concentrations of free histidine compounds. The lumpfish lens contained N‐acetylhistidine (NAH), of which low concentrations were strongly related to cataract severity. However, no correlation between lens NAH and cataract severity was found in the present sample set. Wild lumpfish had higher levels compared to farmed lumpfish, suggesting that the farmed lumpfish may have been deficient in histidine or have a higher utilization of NAH due to osmotic problems. Thus, cataract in farmed lumpfish may be related to primary or secondary disturbed nutrient metabolism or malnutrition, shown by the high levels of specific amino acids in different tissues, which may cause osmotic imbalance and cataract development. This nutritional or environmental‐related welfare problem deserves further research.