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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 154:85-105 (2023)  -  DOI:

White perch health relative to urbanization and habitat degradation in Chesapeake Bay tributaries. I. Biliary neoplasms and hepatic lesions

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

1Cooperative Oxford Laboratory, Oxford, Maryland 21654, USA
2US Geological Survey, Eastern Ecological Science Center, Leetown Research Laboratory, Kearneysville, West Virginia 25430, USA
3US Geological Survey, Columbia Environmental Research Center, 4200 E. New Haven Road, Columbia, Missouri 65201, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: White perch Morone americana (Gmelin, 1789) from the Chesapeake Bay (USA) watershed have a high incidence of liver disease, including neoplasms of bile duct origin. Fish collected seasonally from spring 2019 to winter 2020 from the urban Severn River and the more rural Choptank River were evaluated for hepatic lesions. Biliary hyperplasia (64.1%), neoplasms (cholangioma and cholangiocarcinoma, 27%), and dysplasia (24.9%) were significantly higher in Severn River fish compared to Choptank River fish (52.9, 16.2, and 15.8%, respectively). Hepatocellular lesions were less common, including foci of hepatocellular alteration (FHA, 13.3%) and hepatocellular neoplasms (1%). There was also a progressive age-related increase in copper-laden granules in hepatocytes, which was a significant risk factor for FHA and could be a source of oxidative stress in the liver. Significant risk factors for biliary neoplasms included age, bile duct fibrosis, and infections by the myxozoan parasite Myxidium murchelanoi, but the prevalence and relative intensity of M. murchelanoi infections did not differ significantly between fish populations. Hepatic disease in this species appears to be chronic and may stem from an age-related accumulation of damage, possibly from parasitic infections and contaminants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and copper. Watershed development and exposures to PCBs and PAHs were generally higher for white perch in the Severn River, but similar suites of chemical contaminants were detected in the Choptank River. A broader survey of white perch within and outside Chesapeake Bay may allow determination of the extent of biliary neoplasia in this species.

KEY WORDS: Morone americana · Teleost · Histopathology · Bile duct · Hepatocellular · Myxozoa · Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons

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Cite this article as: Matsche MA, Blazer VS, Pulster EL (2023) White perch health relative to urbanization and habitat degradation in Chesapeake Bay tributaries. I. Biliary neoplasms and hepatic lesions. Dis Aquat Org 154:85-105.

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