Effects of dexamethasone on host innate and adaptive ...

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Title Effects of dexamethasone on host innate and adaptive immune responses and parasite development in rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss infected with Loma salmonae
Author(s) Jan Lovy, David J. Speare, Henrik E. Stryhn, Glenda M. Wright
Journal Fish & Shellfish Immunology
Date 2008
Volume 24
Issue 5
Start page 649
End page 658
Abstract The effects of dexamethasone (dex) treatment on infections with the microsporidian parasite, Loma salmonae and the effects of dex on initiation of the adaptive immune response were investigated in rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss experimentally infected with the parasite. Dex treatment resulted in significantly higher infections with the parasite in the gills and other internal organs, suggesting that dex inhibits aspects of the innate immune response to L. salmonae; the heavier infections in the gills and organs of rainbow trout resembled infections seen in Chinook salmon. Mean xenoma counts per microscope field in the gills of fish infected with L. salmonae treated with dex or left untreated were 169 and 30, respectively. Although higher numbers of xenomas were observed in dex treated fish, the xenomas were generally smaller in size than in infected control fish. The xenomas in dex treated fish showed morphological signs of degeneration including loss and degeneration of early parasite stages, accumulation of amorphous material in xenomas, and infiltration with phagocytic cells containing degenerated parasites. The xenomas in infected untreated fish had larger xenomas with a more uniform size and contained identifiable parasite stages in the cytoplasm. According to this study, once fish have developed an adaptive immune response to the parasite by previous exposure, then fish have 100% protection to reinfection even when treated with heavy doses of dex. L. salmonae immune fish treated or untreated with dex during reinfection with the parasite developed no xenomas in the gills 6 weeks post reinfection. These results indicate that once the cellular response is primed to L. salmonae, then dex related immunosuppression does not reduce the effectiveness of the adaptive immune response.

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