Inter-Research > DAO > v89 > n2 > p137-144  
Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 89:137-144 (2010)  -  DOI:

Gill erosion and herpesvirus in Crassostrea gigas cultured in Baja California, Mexico

Rebeca Vásquez-Yeomans1,2, Mauricio García-Ortega2, Jorge Cáceres-Martínez1,2,*

1Centro de Investigación Científica y de Educación Superior de Ensenada. CICESE. Km 107 Carretera Ensenada-Tijuana 3918 Zona Playitas, CP 22860, Ensenada, Baja California, México
2Instituto de Sanidad Acuícola, A. C. ISA. Calle 15 #265, entre Obregón y Moctezuma, CP 22800, Ensenada, Baja California, México
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: Recurrent episodes of mortality of Crassostrea gigas cultured in northwestern Mexico have been occurring since 1997. Previous studies on bacteria, protozoans, and metazoans as presumptive causal agents have been inconclusive. However, erosions in the marginal indentation of gills have been frequently observed in oysters from areas affected by mortality events, and in 2000 those lesions were associated with the detection of a herpes-like virus. The present study aimed to describe the histological alterations of eroded gills and to determine whether ostreid herpesvirus 1 (OsHV-1) or a related virus was associated with them using in situ hybridization (ISH). Histology showed that gill filaments were fused. In severe cases, deformation of the interlamellar junctions, swelling, and the loss of water channels was observed. ISH analysis revealed the presence of OsHV-1 DNA or a related virus in cells of the gills. Some labeled cells were large with dark granules inside their cytoplasm. These cells were surrounded by infiltrating hemocytes. Some cells interpreted as hemocytes were labeled and observed in eroded and non-eroded areas of the gill. Large cells detected by ISH were also observed by conventional histology with hematoxylin-eosin staining. Whether the virus produces the erosions in the gills, or the erosions in the gills are produced by an unknown condition and favor the presence of the virus, remains unresolved. It is also not clear whether the lesions contribute to mortality.

KEY WORDS: Crassostrea gigas · OsHV-1 · Herpesvirus · Gill erosion · Oyster mortality

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Cite this article as: Vásquez-Yeomans R, García-Ortega M, Cáceres-Martínez J (2010) Gill erosion and herpesvirus in Crassostrea gigas cultured in Baja California, Mexico. Dis Aquat Org 89:137-144.

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