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Metabolic depression and spleen and liver enlargement in juvenile Arctic charr Salvelinus alpinus exposed to chronic parasite infection

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The present study on the connection between standard metabolic rate (RS) and chronic Diplostomum spp. infection resulted in a decrease in RS, and an enlargement in spleen and liver sizes in the infected juvenile Arctic charr Salvelinus alpinus compared to control fish. As splenic enlargement observed in infected fish was not due to condition-related changes in the spleen, it could most probably be explained by increased leucocyte synthesis. The higher liver masses in infected S. alpinus may have been related to disorders in energetic function, which could have had major effects on biochemical regulation by the liver. The proposed metabolic syndrome with a possible reduction in insulin sensitivity in tissues results in ineffective glucose and lipid metabolism and thus it is suggested that chronic Diplostomum infection in S. alpinus might not impose direct energetic costs, but it may weaken the efficiency of energy metabolism and thus lead to lowered RS.

Keywords: Diplostomum spp; Salvelinus alpinus; liver; spleen; standard metabolic rate

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: 1: Ecological Research Institute, Faculty of Biosciences, University of Joensuu, P. O. Box 111, FI-80101 Joensuu, and Finland 2: FGFRI, Sapokankatu 2, FI-48100 Kotka, Finland

Publication date: 2009-02-01

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