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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 98:143-153 (2012)  -  DOI:

Waterborne zinc alters temporal dynamics of guppy Poecilia reticulata epidermal response to Gyrodactylus turnbulli (Monogenea)

Cristina Gheorghiu1,*, David J. Marcogliese2, Marilyn E. Scott3

1Department of Biology & Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Wilfrid Laurier University, 75 University Avenue West, Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3C5, Canada
2Fluvial Ecosystem Research Section, Aquatic Ecosystem Protection Research Division, Water Science and Technology Directorate, Science and Technology Branch, Environment Canada, St. Lawrence Centre, 105 McGill, 7th Floor, Montreal, Quebec H2Y 2E7, Canada
3Institute of Parasitology, Macdonald Campus of McGill University, 21111 Lakeshore Road, Ste-Anne de Bellevue, Quebec H9X 3V9, Canada

ABSTRACT: The present study assessed the histological changes in the epidermis of Poecilia reticulata induced by the combined effects of an ectoparasite Gyrodactylus turnbulli and differing concentrations of waterborne zinc (Zn). Infected guppies were exposed to 0, 15, 30, 60, or 120 µg Zn l−1 and monitored over 3 wk during the exponential increase in parasite numbers on the fish. The fish epidermis responded within 3 d to G. turnbulli infection with a rapid increase in epidermal thickness and a modest increase in number, but not size or composition, of mucous cells. In contrast, in the presence of combined waterborne Zn and infection, mucous cell numbers declined rapidly. As the parasite numbers increased, the epidermis remained thicker than normal, and the number and size of mucous cells decreased. The addition of Zn led to a dramatic thickening of the epidermis during the exponential growth of the parasite population. Mucous cell numbers remained depressed. Temporal changes in mucous cell size were Zn concentration dependent. At 60 µg Zn l−1, cells returned to normal size as infection progressed, whereas they remained extremely small at 120 µg Zn l−1. Changes in mucin composition previously reported in response to Zn alone were subdued in the presence of the parasite except at 60 µg Zn l−1, where all cells contained only acidic mucins. Together these results demonstrate that, on exposure to both Zn and G. turnbulli infection, the epidermal response is initially a protective response to both stressors, and then mainly driven by the increased parasite burden.

KEY WORDS: Waterborne zinc · Poecilia reticulata · Gyrodactylids · Epidermal histology · Mucous cells · Mucins

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Cite this article as: Gheorghiu C, Marcogliese DJ, Scott ME (2012) Waterborne zinc alters temporal dynamics of guppy Poecilia reticulata epidermal response to Gyrodactylus turnbulli (Monogenea). Dis Aquat Org 98:143-153.

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