A BCWD-resistant line of rainbow trout exhibits higher abundance of IgT+ B cells and heavy chain tau transcripts compared to a susceptible line following challenge withFlavobacterium psychrophilum

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Bacterial Cold Water Disease (BCWD) is a common, chronic disease in rainbow trout, and is caused by the gram-negative bacterium Flavobacterium psychrophilum (Fp). Through selective breeding, the National Center for Cool and Cold Water Aquaculture has generated a genetic line that is highly resistant to Fp challenge, designated ARS-Fp-R (or R-line), as well as a susceptible “control” line, ARS-Fp-S (S-line). In previous studies, resistance to Fp had been shown to correlate with naive animal spleen size, and further, naïve R-line trout had been shown to have a lower abundance of IgM+ and IgM++ cells compared to S-line fish. Here we wished to first determine whether the abundance of IgT+ and/or IgT++ cells differed between the two lines in naïve fish, and if so, how these patterns differed after in vivo challenge with Fp. Fp challenge was by intramuscular injection of live Fp and tissue collections were on days 5, 6, and/or 28 post-challenge, in two independent challenge experiments. Flow cytometric and gene expression analyses revealed that naïve R-line fish had a higher abundance of IgT+ B cells in their anterior kidney, spleen, and blood, compared to S line fish. Further, that after Fp challenge, this difference was maintained between the two lines. Lastly, abundance of IgT+ B cells and expression of secHCtau correlated with lower Fp pathogen loads in challenged fish. In the anterior kidney, IgM+ B cell abundance correlated with increased Fp loads. Together, these results suggest that IgT+ B lineage cells may have a protective function in the immune response to Fp.

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