High Mortality Due to Tetrahymena sp. Infection in Laboratory-Maintained Zebrafish (Brachydanio rerio)
Abstract:A large colony of laboratory zebrafish (Brachydanio rerio) used in the study of early vertebrate embryogenesis began experiencing acute, unexplained mortality that approached 100% among approximately 30-day-old resident fry. The initial differential diagnosis included ammonia, nitrite, or chlorine toxicosis, as well as iatrogenically induced toxicosis associated with improper sanitation procedures of laboratory equipment. Necropsy of dead and moribund fry prior to fixation revealed swarms of ovoid-shaped, motile, ciliated protozoa with a "spiraling football" motion. Wet mount preparations of various water samples also contained high numbers of similar protozoa. Histologic examination of affected fry revealed numerous, periodic acid-Schiff-positive forms within the body coelom, and epithelial and muscle tissues. The protozoa were consistent morphologically with members of the genus Tetrahymena, which is usually a free-living, nonpathogenic ciliated protozoa in fresh and saltwater environments. Relevant disease associated with Tetrahymena spp. in viviparous fish has been reported as a result of concurrent disease, immunosuppression, or poor water quality conditions. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first report of an epizootic involving laboratory maintained zebrafish, and the diagnostic course and therapeutic interventions undertaken to alleviate Tetrahymena species-associated clinical disease.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: Division of Comparative Medicine, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139 2: Research Animal Medicine Branch, Intramural Research Division, NICHD, NIH, Bethesda, Maryland 20892 3: Laboratory of Molecular Genetics, Intramural Research Branch, NICHD, NIH, Bethesda, Maryland 20892
Publication date: August 1, 2002
Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.
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