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Inflammatory response of rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss (Walbaum, 1792) larvae against Ichthyophthirius multifiliis.


At hatching, the immune system of the rainbow trout larva is not fully developed. The larva emerges from the egg and is exposed to the aquatic freshwater environment containing pathogenic organisms. At this early stage, protection from disease causing organisms is thought to depend on innate immune mechanisms. Here, we studied the ability of young post-hatch rainbow trout larvae to respond immunologically to an infection with Ichthyophthirius multifiliis and also report on the localization of 5 different immune relevant molecules in the tissue of infected and uninfected larvae. Quantitative RT-PCR (qPCR) was used to analyze the genetic regulation of IL-1β, IL-8, IL-6, TNF-α, iNOS, SAA, cathelicidin-2, hepcidin, IL-10, IL-22, IgM and IgT. Also, a panel of 5 monoclonal antibodies was used to investigate the presence and localization of the proteins CD8, SAA, MHCII, IgM and IgT. At 10 days (84 degree days) post-hatching, larvae were infected with I. multifiliis and sampled for qPCR at 3, 6, 12, 24, 48 and 72 h post-infection (p.i.). At 72 h p.i. samples were taken for antibody staining. The first of the examined genes to be up-regulated was IL-1β. Subsequently, IL-8 and cathelicidin-2 were up-regulated and later TNF-α, hepcidin, IL-6, iNOS and SAA. Immunohistochemical staining showed presence of CD8 and MHCII in the thymus of both infected and non-infected larvae. Staining of MHCII and SAA was seen at sites of parasite localization and weak staining of SAA was seen in the liver of infected larvae. Staining of IgT was seen at site of infection in the gills which may be one of the earliest adaptive factors seen. No positive staining was seen for IgM. The study illustrates that rainbow trout larvae as young as 10 days (84 degree days) post-hatch are able to regulate important immune relevant cytokines, chemokines and acute phase proteins in response to infection with a skin parasitizing protozoan parasite.