White spots amidst the gold: ultrastructural and histological aspects of the chronic inflammatory response of goldfish with ichthyophthiriasis

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Ichthyophthirius multifiliis, the causative agent of white spot disease, is a ciliated protozoan parasite that infects freshwater fish and induces high mortality. Outbreaks occur both in natural and production sites. The aim of the present study was to describe the lesions caused by chronic infection by I. multifiliis in goldfish (Carassius auratus) from an ornamental fish farm, highlighting important ultrastructural aspects of this protozoan. Damaged skin and gills, collected from fish with white or ulcerative skin lesions, were routinely processed for histological analysis and transmission electron microscopy. The parasitic forms present in the skin were associated with an inflammatory infiltrate consisting of macrophages, lymphocytes and other polymorphonuclear cells. The lesions associated with the presence of the parasite were organized in the form of granulomas, with macrophages in the layers closest to the parasites. A trophont-thickened membrane and induction of granulomatous inflammation were identified in this study as mechanisms for evasion of the immune response. We concluded that the presence of I. multifiliis trophonts resulted in the formation of granulomatous inflammation, whether associated or not with pathogen lysis, suggesting that the parasite can use an inflammatory response to evade the immune response.
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https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcpa.2024.04.003 Get rights and content
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