DAO 76:81-85 (2007)  -  doi:10.3354/dao076081

Baltic salmon activates immune relevant genes in fin tissue when responding to Gyrodactylus salaris infection

Per Kania1, Thomas B. Larsen1, Hans C. Ingerslev2, Kurt Buchmann1,*

1Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, Laboratory of Fish Diseases, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Stigbøjlen 7, 1870 Frederiksberg C, Denmark
2Department of Biology, University of Bergen, Thormøhlensgate 55, 5020 Bergen, Norway
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: Immune mechanisms in 2 strains of Salmo salar (Baltic salmon from River Ume Älv in Sweden and East Atlantic salmon from River Skjernå in Denmark) infected with the monogenean ectoparasite Gyrodactylus salaris were elucidated by molecular tools (real-time PCR). The gene expression in the fins (the preferred microhabitat of the parasite) of the susceptible but responding Swedish salmon was compared to the expression in the fins of the highly susceptible and non-responding East Atlantic salmon. Experimental infections confirmed that both the Swedish and the Danish salmon allowed initial propagation of the parasite on the fins for a few weeks. Baltic salmon subsequently activated a response from Day 28 and limited the parasite population to a few parasites per host within the following weeks. In contrast, the Danish salmon did not respond and experienced a continuing increase in the parasite load during the same period, which reached several hundreds of parasites per host. RNA was isolated from fins of the 2 salmon strains during the course of infection and subsequent real-time PCR showed an increased expression of INFγ, Mx and MHC I genes in Baltic salmon fins during large segments of the response phase. No upregulation of these genes could be detected in susceptible salmon. No increase in immunoglobulin genes was seen in any of the fish strains, which supports the notion that antibodies are not involved in the response. Further, the work suggests that cellular factors could at least partly contribute to the anti-parasitic response in Baltic salmon.


KEY WORDS: Host response · Real-time PCR · Salmon · Gyrodactylus salaris


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