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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 96:209-219 (2011)  -  DOI:

Exophiala angulospora causes systemic ­inflammation in Atlantic cod Gadus morhua

Mona Cecilie Gjessing1,*, Marie Davey2,3, Agnar Kvellestad4, Trude Vrålstad1,2

1Norwegian Veterinary Institute, Pb 750 Sentrum, 0106 Oslo, Norway
2Microbial Evolution Research Group (MERG), Department of Biology, University of Oslo, 0316 Oslo, Norway
3Department of Ecology and Natural Resource Management, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, 1432 Ås, Norway
4Section of Anatomy and Pathology, Institute of Basic Sciences and Aquatic Medicine, Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, 0033 Oslo, Norway

ABSTRACT: Species of Exophiala are opportunistic fungal pathogens that may infect a broad range of warm- and cold-blooded animals, including salmonids and Atlantic cod. In the present study, we observed abnormal swimming behaviour and skin pigmentation and increased mortality in cod kept in an indoor tank. Necropsy revealed foci of different sizes with a greyish to brownish colour in internal organs of diseased fish. The foci consisted of ramifying darkly pigmented fungal hyphae surrounded by distinct layers of inflammatory cells, including macrophage-like cells. In the inner layer with many hyphae, the macrophage-like cells were dead. We observed no apparent restriction of fungal growth by the inflammatory response. A darkly pigmented fungus was repeatedly isolated in pure culture from foci of diseased fish and identified as Exophiala angulospora using morphological and molecular characters. This species has not been previously reported to cause disease in cod, but has been reported as an opportunistic pathogen of both marine and freshwater fish. Based on the morphology and sequence analysis presented here, we conclude that E. angulospora caused the observed chronic multifocal inflammation in internal organs of cod, leading to severe disease and mortality.

KEY WORDS: Macrophages · Capronia coronata · Herpotrichiellaceae · Black yeast

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Cite this article as: Gjessing MC, Davey M, Kvellestad A, Vrålstad T (2011) Exophiala angulospora causes systemic ­inflammation in Atlantic cod Gadus morhua. Dis Aquat Org 96:209-219.

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