DAO 123:193-203 (2017)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03102

Comparative study of proliferative kidney disease in grayling Thymallus thymallus and brown trout Salmo trutta fario: an exposure experiment

Heike Schmidt-Posthaus1,*, Albert Ros1, Regula Hirschi1, Ernst Schneider2

1Centre for Fish and Wildlife Health, Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology, University of Berne, Laenggassstrasse 122, PO Box 8466, 3001 Berne, Switzerland
2Alte Landstrasse 156, 8800 Thalwil, Switzerland
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Proliferative kidney disease (PKD) is an emerging disease threatening wild salmonid populations, with the myxozoan parasite Tetracapsuloides bryosalmonae as the causative agent. Species differences in parasite susceptibility and disease-induced mortality seem to exist. The aim of the present study was to compare incidence, pathology and mortality of PKD in grayling Thymallus thymallus and brown trout Salmo trutta under identical semi-natural conditions. Young-of-the-year grayling and brown trout, free of T. bryosalmonae, were jointly exposed in cage compartments in a river in the northeast of Switzerland during 3 summer months. Wild brown trout were caught by electrofishing near the cage, and PKD status was compared with that of caged animals. Cage-exposed grayling showed a PKD incidence of 1%, regardless of whether parasite infection was determined by means of real-time PCR or histopathology/immunohistochemistry. In contrast, PKD incidence of caged brown trout was 77%. This value was not significantly different to PKD prevalence of wild brown trout caught above and below the cage (60 and 91%, respectively). Mortality in grayling was significantly higher compared with that of brown trout (40 versus 23%); however, grayling mortality was not considered to be associated with PKD. Mortality of caged and infected brown trout was significantly higher than mortality of non-infected caged trout. Histopathology indicated an ongoing mostly acute or chronic active infection in brown trout, which survived until the end of exposure. The results suggest that grayling are less susceptible to infection with T. bryosalmonae compared with brown trout under the tested field conditions.


KEY WORDS: Proliferative kidney disease · Grayling · Brown trout · Mortality · Pathology · Temperature


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Cite this article as: Schmidt-Posthaus H, Ros A, Hirschi R, Schneider E (2017) Comparative study of proliferative kidney disease in grayling Thymallus thymallus and brown trout Salmo trutta fario: an exposure experiment. Dis Aquat Org 123:193-203. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03102

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