Healing and mucosal immunity in the skin of experimentally wounded gilthead seabream (Sparus aurataL)

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Skin lesions are very common in fisheries, increasing the risk of pathogens entering through the wounded skin of the fish. In the present assay, the progression of wound healing was studied over a 7 day period in gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata L.) after making experimental wounds in two different locations: above (group A) or below (group B) the lateral line. Macroscopic observation confirmed faster wound healing of the wounds of fish from group B. Furthermore, several immune-related components were studied in the skin mucus of wounded fish to ascertain whether wounding altered the mucus composition compared with the values obtained from non-wounded fish (group C, control). Significant variations were detected depending on both the site of the wound and the studied parameter. At the same time, the gene expression profile of several immune-relevant genes, including pro-inflammatory (il1b,il6, tnfa), anti-inflamamtory (tgfb, il10), immunoglobulins (ighm, ight), involved in oxidative stress (sod, cat) and in skin regeneration (krt1 and grhl1) were studied in the three groups of fish (A, B and C). The results throw further light on the complex process of skin wound healing in fish, since substantial changes in the skin mucus and in the skin gene expression originated by the presence of wounds were observed. This work underline some important differences depending on the place of the fish body where the wound is located. Of particular note was the fact that such changes depended on the site of the wound.Graphical abstractHighlightsSkin healing was studied in gilthead seabream wounded above or below the lateral line.The healing process is faster for wounds below the lateral line.Fish skin cells are more sensitive to physical aggression in the area below the lateral line.The gene expression of some immune-related genes increased to a greater extent in the skin located above the lateral line.

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