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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

    DAO prepress abstract   -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03541

    Differential liver histopathological responses to amphibian chytrid infection

    Raquel F. Salla*, Monica Jones-Costa, Fabio C. Abdalla, Felipe A. P. Vidal, Guilherme A. N. S. Boeing, Cristiane R. Oliveira, Elaine C. M. Silva-Zacarin, Lilian Franco-Belussi, Gisele M. Rizzi-Possignolo, Carolina Lambertini, Luís F. Toledo

    *Corresponding author:

    ABSTRACT: Amphibians have been facing a pandemic caused by the deadly fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). Although studies have elucidated cutaneous and homeostatic disturbances, it is still unknown if the hepatic function can be affected or if hepatic effects differ among host species. Thus, we evaluated the effects of an experimental Bd infection on the liver (histopathology and the hepatosomatic index - HI) of two anuran species (Xenopus laevis and Physalaemus albonotatus) with different susceptibilities to this infection and compared to uninfected controls. Bd infection increased the melanomacrophage cell area and induced leukocyte infiltration in both species. The effects were more pronounced in the sensitive species, P. albonotatus, which showed severe reduction in glycogen stores and liver atrophy, due to energetic unbalance. P. albonotatus’ hepatocytes also showed Ballooning degeneration (vacuolization) which could lead to cell death and liver failure. Our results provide evidence that although the sensitive species showed more severe effects, the tolerant species also had hepatic responses to the infection. These findings indicate that the hepatic function can play an important role in detoxification and in immune responses to chytridiomycosis, and that it may be used as a new biomarker of health status in chytrid infections.