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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 60:41-48 (2004)  -  doi:10.3354/dao060041

Some immune parameters in carp Cyprinus carpio susceptible and resistant to the haemoflagellate Trypanoplasma borreli

J. P. Scharsack1, D. Steinhagen1,*, W. Körting1, B. Wagner2, W. Leibold2, H. J. Schuberth2

1Fish Disease Research Unit, and
2Immunology Unit, School of Veterinary Medicine, Hannover, PO Box 711180, 30545 Hannover, Germany
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: The present study addresses aspects of the (specific) immune response of carp to the haemoflagellate Trypanoplasma borreli. Sera of resistant carp contained antibodies, which agglutinated the flagellates in vitro. When flagellates were incubated in fish sera from resistant carp, binding of antibodies to flagellates could be demonstrated by flow cytometry, and T. borreli were effectively killed. Heat-treatment of the sera prevented killing, indicating that complement activation is important for the control of a T. borreli infection. Sera of carp that were highly susceptible to infection with T. borreli contained no antibodies capable of binding to or killing the parasite. Furthermore, specific antibodies were not generated after experimental infection. This lack of antibody production in susceptible carp is not due to a general unresponsiveness of lymphoid cells, since peripheral blood leukocytes (PBL) from susceptible and resistant carp responded to mitogenic stimuli in vitro with lymphocyte proliferation in a similar manner. However, viable flagellates were significantly less able to stimulate proliferation of PBL from susceptible carp. In vitro-produced culture supernatants of freshly isolated PBL from both carp lines (but not those of head kidney cells) differentially modulated the mitogen-induced proliferation of PBL from susceptible and resistant carp. The supernatants enhanced the proliferation of leukocytes obtained from individuals from the same carp line, but suppressed the mitogen-induced proliferation of PBL from the other line tested. This indicates that lymphoid cells from susceptible and resistant carp differ in their spectrum of spontaneously produced immunomodulatory mediators. Whether this is decisive for a T. borreli-specific and successful immune response is discussed.

KEY WORDS: Trypanoplasma borreli · Disease susceptibility · Leukocyte activation · Immune modulation · Specific immune responses

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