DAO 44:41-45 (2001)  -  doi:10.3354/dao044041

Occurrence of Ichthyophthirius multifiliis within the peritoneal cavities of infected channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus

Joanne L. Maki1,*, Corrie C. Brown2, Harry W. Dickerson1

1Department of Medical Microbiology and Parasitology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602-7386, USA
2Department of Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602-7386, USA

ABSTRACT: Ichthyophthirius multifiliis is a ciliated protozoan parasite that infects the skin and gills of freshwater fish. This report describes the unusual finding of I. multifiliis within the peritoneal cavities of experimentally infected channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus. Twenty catfish fingerlings were exposed to I. multifiliis theronts using a standardized protocol. Five infected fish and 2 control fish were killed at various time points after infection and their tissues examined. Formalin-fixed, paraffin embedded sections were processed for light microscopy and immunohistochemical detection of I. multifiliis immobilization antigen. Trophonts were observed in skin and gill sections of all exposed fish. Parasites were associated with epithelial hyperplasia, focal areas of cellular disruption and necrosis. In addition to these usual sites of infection, individual trophonts were unexpectedly found within the peritoneal cavities of 4 fish. Staining for parasite antigen facilitated their detection within abdominal adipose tissue or adjacent to intestines. This discovery is interesting as it suggests I. multifiliis may be found in tissues other than the skin and gills during the course of a normal infection.


KEY WORDS: Ichthyophthirius multifiliis · Ich · Protozoa · Ciliate · Ictalurus punctatus · Channel catfish · Pathology · Immunohistochemistry


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