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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 142:177-187 (2020)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03541

Differential liver histopathological responses to amphibian chytrid infection

Raquel F. Salla1,2,*, Monica Jones-Costa2,3, Fabio C. Abdalla2,4, Felipe A. P. Vidal5, Guilherme A. N. S. Boeing4, Cristiane R. Oliveira6, Elaine C. M. Silva-Zacarin6, Lilian Franco-Belussi7, Gisele M. Rizzi-Possignolo8, Carolina Lambertini1, Luís F. Toledo1

1Laboratory of Natural History of Brazilian Amphibians, Biology Institute, State University of Campinas, Campinas, São Paulo 13083-862, Brazil
2Postgraduation Program of Biotechnology and Environmental Monitoring, Federal University of São Carlos, Sorocaba, São Paulo 18052-780, Brazil
3Laboratory of Conservation Physiology, Department of Biology, Federal University of São Carlos, Sorocaba, São Paulo 18052-780, Brazil
4Laboratory of Structural and Functional Biology, Department of Biology, Federal University of São Carlos, Sorocaba, São Paulo 18052-780, Brazil
5Research Centre for Toxic Compounds in the Environment - RECETOX, Masaryk University 60200, Czech Republic
6Research Group of Ecotoxicology and Bee Conservation, Federal University of São Carlos, Sorocaba, São Paulo 18052-780, Brazil
7Biosciences Institute, Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul, Mato Grosso do Sul 79070-900, Brazil
8Department of Biology, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Amphibians have been facing a pandemic caused by the deadly fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). Although studies have elucidated cutaneous and homeostatic disturbances, it is still unknown if the hepatic function can be affected or if hepatic effects differ among host species. Thus, we evaluated the effects of an experimental Bd infection on the liver (histopathology and the hepatosomatic index) of 2 anuran species (Xenopus laevis and Physalaemus albonotatus) with different susceptibilities to Bd infection and compared them to uninfected controls. Bd infection increased the melanomacrophage cell area and induced leukocyte infiltration in both species. The effects were more pronounced in the sensitive species, P. albonotatus, which showed severe reduction in glycogen stores and liver atrophy, due to energetic imbalance. Hepatocytes of P. albonotatus also showed ballooning degeneration (vacuolization), which could lead to cell death and liver failure. Our results provide evidence that although the sensitive species showed more severe effects, the tolerant species also had hepatic responses to the infection. These findings indicate that hepatic function can play an important role in detoxification and in immune responses to chytridiomycosis, and that it may be used as a new biomarker of health status in chytrid infections.


KEY WORDS: Amphibian disease · Histopathology · Liver degeneration · Melanomacrophage cells


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Cite this article as: Salla RF, Jones-Costa M, Abdalla FC, Vidal FAP and others (2020) Differential liver histopathological responses to amphibian chytrid infection. Dis Aquat Org 142:177-187. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03541

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