Fate of fluorescent microspheres in developingIctalurus punctatus following prolonged immersion

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Particulate antigen uptake by the mucosa of developing channel catfish was determined by immersing larvae and fry [2-day post-hatch (dph), 1-, 2-, 3-, 4-, and 8-week post-hatch (wph)] to two forms of fluorescent microspheres (FMS): blue FMS were carboxylated, and green FMS were coated via conjugation with a crude extract of Edwardsiella ictaluri outer membrane protein (OMP). Phagocytosis, destination, and clearance appeared similar for the two types of FMS used. In the older age classes, primary uptake was observed in epithelial cells of the torso, fins, nares and to a lesser extent the gills. Fluorescent microspheres were less frequently observed within mononuclear phagocytes in the epidermis, dermis and underlying connective tissue of the tissue mentioned above. Limited FMS trafficking was observed from 4- to 24-h post-immersion (hpi). Significantly higher numbers of FMS (blue and green)/mm3 of tissue were observed in the posterior kidney of the 4- and 8-wph age classes and in the anterior kidney and spleen of the 8-wph age class when compared to younger age classes (p < 0.05). Significantly higher FMS (blue and green)/mm3 of tissue were observed in the posterior kidney of 4- and 8-wph fish when compared to all other organs (p < 0.05). The present study indicates that FMS uptake increases with age in channel catfish. The younger age classes may possess an increased ability to exclude particulate antigen, or lack the specific mechanisms that needed to take up particulates in the form of FMS.

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