Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 4931
Title: Cumulative effects of natural and anthropogenic stress on immune function and disease resistance in juvenile Chinook salmon
Author: K. C. Jacobson, M. R. Arkoosh, Anna N. Kagley, E. R. Clemons, T. K. Collier, Edmundo Casillas
Publication Year: 2003
Journal: Journal of Aquatic Animal Health
Volume: 15
Issue: 1
Pages: 1-12

 Previous studies have shown that juvenile chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha exposed in the field or the laboratory to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), an anthropogenic stressor, are immunosuppressed.  It is not known whether simultaneous exposure to natural stressors can increase this immunosuppression.  To examine the effects of natural and anthropogenic stressors on immune function, we infected juvenile chinook salmon with metacercariae of the trematode Nanophyetus salmincola by exposing the fish to infected freshwater snails Juga plicifera.  Infected (>300 metacercariae per fish) and noninfected salmon were then injected with either the commercial PCB mixture Aroclor 1254 or an acetone–emulphor carrier.  B cell function was examined by in vitro hemolytic plaque–forming cell (PFC) assay.  Nanophyetus salmincola infection resulted in significantly lower anterior kidney primary PFCs and lower splenic secondary PFCs.  The combination of N. salmincola infection and Aroclor 1254 exposure caused a lower anterior kidney primary PFC response than did either stressor alone.  The immune function of juvenile chinook salmon was also measured by challenging them with the marine bacterium Listonella anguillarum (formerly known as Vibrio anguillarum).  Fish infected with N. salmincola had higher mortalities than noninfected fish when challenged with L. anguillarum.  These experiments demonstrated that N. salmincola infection in juvenile chinook salmon can impair immune function and disease resistance.  The findings also show that in combination these natural and anthropogenic stressors can have a greater negative effect on salmon health than either stressor alone.

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