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Open Access Susceptibility of Zebrafish (Danio rerio) to a Model Pathogen, Spring Viremia of Carp Virus

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To improve our understanding of the genetic basis of fish disease, we developed a pathogen model, using zebrafish (Danio rerio) and spring virema of carp virus (SVCV). Replicate groups of 10 fish were acclimated to 20 or 24°C, then were exposed to SVCV concentrations of 103 to 105 plaque-forming units per milliliter (PFU/ml) of water and observed daily. In a second trial, fish were acclimated to 15°C, and replicate groups of 10 fish were exposed to SVCV at a concentration of 105 PFU/ml; however, the temperature was raised 1°C/wk. Moribund fish were collected for histologic examination, and dead fish were assayed for virus by use of cell culture and reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis. Mortality exceeded 50% in fish exposed to 105 PFU of SVCV/ml at the lower temperatures. Clinical signs of disease became evident seven days after viral exposure and were observed most consistently in fish of the 105 PFU/ml groups. Affected zebrafish were anorectic and listless, with epidermal petechial hemorrhages followed by death. Use of plaque assays and RT-PCR analysis confirmed presence of SVCV at titers ≥ 104 PFU/g of tissue. Histologic lesions included multifocal brachial necrosis and melanomacrophage proliferation in gills, liver, and kidneys. These results indicate that zebrafish are susceptible to infection by SVCV under conditions that mimic a natural route of exposure.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Western Fisheries Research Center, 6505 NE 65th Street, Seattle, Washington 98115

Publication date: 2003-10-01

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  • 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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