DAO 47:39-48 (2001)  -  doi:10.3354/dao047039

Coho salmon Oncorhynchus kisutch strain differences in disease resistance and non-specific immunity, following immersion challenges with Vibrio anguillarum

Shannon K. Balfry1,*, Alec G. Maule2, George K. Iwama1

1Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and the AQUA-NET National Centre for Excellence, University of British Columbia, 248-2357 Main Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z4, Canada
2Western Fisheries Research Center, Biological Resources Division, United States Geological Survey, Columbia River Field Station, 5501A Cook-Underwood Road, Cook, Washington 98605, USA

ABSTRACT: Two strains of freshwater-reared coho salmon Oncorhynchus kisutch were compared for differences in the activity of selected non-specific immune factors before and after lethal and non-lethal immersion challenges with the marine bacterial pathogen Vibrio anguillarum (Vang). Two disease challenge experiments were performed. The first experimental challenge resulted in no mortality; however, significant strain and challenge treatment effects were detected at Day 16 post-challenge. Strain differences in plasma lysozyme activity were found in pre-challenge samples. The second challenge experiment compared the same strains of coho salmon following immersion challenges in different doses of Vang. The fish were sampled at Days 0, 2, 7, and 18 post-challenge and mortality, plasma lysozyme, and anterior kidney phagocyte respiratory burst activity were compared. There were significant strain differences in mortality in the high dose group. The more disease-resistant strain was found to have higher levels of plasma lysozyme and anterior kidney phagocyte respiratory burst activity. These strain differences were detected at various times in the lethal (high dose) and non-lethal challenge groups. There was a clear relationship between the enhanced survival of the more disease-resistant strain and a more sustained, elevated non-specific immune response following the experimental disease challenges. The results of this study suggest that the basis for strain differences in innate disease resistance is related to the ability of the fish to respond quickly to the initial infection and to maintain the response until the infection is quelled.

KEY WORDS: Non-specific immunity · Disease resistance · Vibrio anguillarum · Lysozyme · Phagocyte · Respiratory burst

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