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Immunization of grouper, Epinephelus coioides, confers protection against a protozoan parasite, Cryptocaryon irritans

Yambot, A.V., Song, Y.L.
Aquaculture 2006 v.260 no.1-4 pp. 1-9
Epinephelus coioides, grouper, marine fish, fingerlings, immunization, fish diseases, protozoal infections, disease prevention, Ciliophora, live vaccines, fish culture, mariculture, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay
The present study aimed to determine whether protection is conferred by immunization of grouper, Epinephelus coioides, against a protozoan parasite, Cryptocaryon irritans. The immunization of E. coioides was carried out by a low level exposure of fish to live C. irritans theronts from predetermined number of tomonts and by an intraperitoneal injection of a vaccine consisting of formalin-killed C. irritans theronts. Mucus titers detected by ELISA were significantly higher in fingerling and adult grouper subjected to the low level of exposure to C. irritans theronts at 3-week post-exposure compared to fish that had no previous exposure. In addition, significantly smaller tomonts were produced from adult grouper after three successive exposures than the tomonts produced after a single exposure to the parasite. In the vaccine-immunization experiment, no mortality was monitored in fish that received high dose vaccine (100 μg/fish), while 40% cumulative mortality and 100% cumulative mortality were recorded in low dose group (10 μg/fish) and control group (PBS-injected), respectively. In the succeeding replicate, the vaccine-immunized group (high dose) had 37.5% cumulative mortality and 100% cumulative mortality for the control. In addition, a total of 1830 tomonts were collected at 5-day post-challenge from the control group while none from the vaccine-immunized group. Significantly fewer trophonts and tomonts were enumerated at 5-day and 7-day post-challenge, respectively, in the vaccine-immunized group than the control. Results suggest that a protective immunity has been conferred on the immunized grouper as indicated by high antibody titers in the mucus of C. irritans-exposed fish and higher survival and fewer parasites in vaccine-immunized fish than the control groups. The conferred immunity played a major role in preventing or limiting the adhesion, invasion, and development of C. irritans theronts on the skin of the immunized grouper.