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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 143:79-100 (2021)  -  DOI:

Biological and anthropogenic influences on macrophage aggregates in white perch Morone americana from Chesapeake Bay, USA

Mark A. Matsche1,*, Vicki S. Blazer2, Erin L. Pulster3, Patricia M. Mazik4

1Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Cooperative Oxford Laboratory, 904 South Morris Street, Oxford, Maryland 21654, USA
2US Geological Survey, Leetown Science Center, National Fish Health Research Laboratory, 11649 Leetown Road, Kearneysville, West Virginia 25430, USA
3University of South Florida, College of Marine Sciences, St. Petersburg, Florida 33701, USA
4US Geological Survey, West Virginia Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, West Virginia University, 322 Percival Hall, Morgantown, West Virginia 26506, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The response of macrophage aggregates in fish to a variety of environmental stressors has been useful as a biomarker of exposure to habitat degradation. Total volume of macrophage aggregates (MAV) was estimated in the liver and spleen of white perch Morone americana from Chesapeake Bay using stereological approaches. Hepatic and splenic MAV were compared between fish populations from the rural Choptank River (n = 122) and the highly urbanized Severn River (n = 131). Hepatic and splenic MAV increased with fish age, were greater in females from the Severn River only, and were significantly greater in fish from the more polluted Severn River (higher concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, organochlorine pesticides, and brominated diphenyl ethers). Water temperature and dissolved oxygen had a significant effect on organ volumes, but not on MAV. Age and river were most influential on hepatic and splenic MAV, suggesting that increased MAV in Severn River fish resulted from chronic exposures to higher concentrations of environmental contaminants and other stressors. Hemosiderin was abundant in 97% of spleens and was inversely related to fish condition and positively related to fish age and trematode infections. Minor amounts of hemosiderin were detected in 30% of livers and positively related to concentrations of benzo[a] pyrene metabolite equivalents in the bile. This study demonstrated that hepatic and splenic MAV were useful indicators in fish from the 2 tributaries with different land use characteristics and concentrations of environmental contaminants. More data are needed from additional tributaries with a wider gradient of environmental impacts to validate our results in this species.

KEY WORDS: Environmental monitoring · Stereology · Melano-macrophage centers · Liver · Spleen · Lipofuscin · Hemosiderin · Teleost

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Cite this article as: Matsche MA, Blazer VS, Pulster EL, Mazik PM (2021) Biological and anthropogenic influences on macrophage aggregates in white perch Morone americana from Chesapeake Bay, USA. Dis Aquat Org 143:79-100.

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