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Amoebic gill disease resistance is not related to the systemic antibody response of Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar L.

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Amoebic gill disease (AGD) is a proliferative gill tissue response caused by Neoparamoeba perurans and is the main disease affecting Australian marine farmed Atlantic salmon. We have previously proposed that macroscopic gill health (‘gill score’) trajectories and challenge survival provide evidence of a change in the nature of resistance to AGD. In order to examine whether the apparent development of resistance was because of an adaptive response, serum was sequentially sampled from the same individuals over the first three rounds of natural AGD infection and from survivors of a subsequent non-intervention AGD survival challenge. The systemic immune reaction to ‘wildtype’Neoparamoeba sp. was characterized by Western blot analysis and differentiated to putative carbohydrate or peptide epitopes by periodate oxidation reactions. The proportion of seropositive fish increased from 46% to 77% with each AGD round. Antibody response to carbohydrate epitope(s) was immunodominant, occurring in 43–64% of samples. Antibodies that bound peptide epitope were identified in 16% of the challenge survivors. A 1:50 (single-dilution) enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay confirmed a measurable immune titre in 13% of the survivors. There was no evidence that antibodies recognizing wildtype Neoparamoeba provided significant protection against AGD.

Keywords: AGD; ELISA; Neoparamoeba; Western blot; ectoparasite

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1:  National Centre for Marine Conservation and Resource Sustainability, University of Tasmania, Launceston, Tas.,  Australia 2:  CSIRO National Food Futures Flagship, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Hobart, Tas., Australia

Publication date: January 1, 2010


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