DAO 41:173-179 (2000)  -  doi:10.3354/dao041173

Effect of Flavobacterium psychrophilum strains and their metabolites on the oxidative activity of rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss phagocytes

Maarten Lammens*, Annemie Decostere, Freddy Haesebrouck

Laboratory of Veterinary Bacteriology and Mycology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Gent, Salisburylaan 133, 9820 Merelbeke, Belgium

ABSTRACT: The oxidative activity of rainbow trout phagocytes was studied using a chemiluminescence technique using 12 different Flavobacterium psychrophilum strains and their metabolites. Phagocytes were obtained from the head kidney of rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss. The addition of viable F. psychrophilum or their metabolites to the phagocytes resulted in an immediate chemiluminescence response. The stimulating effects of both the F. psychrophilum and their metabolites on the phagocytes were found to be heat stable. No significant differences in stimulation capacity were found between the strains tested. To investigate the nature of the stimulating agent, both the bacteria and the supernatant were treated with either sodium metaperiodate or polymyxin B. Adding polymyxin B to the bacterial cells and supernatant did not change the chemiluminescence pattern, suggesting that the capacity of F. psychrophilum to stimulate the phagocytes probably is not due to lipopolysaccharides (LPS). However, following incubation of the bacteria and their metabolites with sodium metaperiodate, the capacity to stimulate phagocytes was significantly impaired. This suggests that a carbohydrate component most likely plays an important role in the ability of F. psychrophilum to stimulate phagocytes. Opsonisation of the bacteria with native trout serum or with rabbit anti-F. psychrophilum serum resulted in an additional chemiluminescence peak which was significantly higher than the first peak. This extra peak disappeared following heat treatment of the trout serum and the rabbit anti-F. psychrophilum serum, pointing towards the involvement of heat labile complement in opsonisation.

KEY WORDS: Flavobacterium psychrophilum · Chemiluminescence · Oxidative burst · Rainbow trout · Phagocytes

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