Here, we investigated the early development of two closely related myxozoan parasites, the highly pathogenic Myxobolus cerebralis, the causative agent of the whirling disease in salmonids, and Myxobolus pseudodispar, a common, non-pathogenic parasite of cyprinids. The aim of our study was to examine under in vivo laboratory conditions whether fish blood is involved in the intrapiscine development of the two parasite species and investigate if there is dissimilarity between the parasite infection intensity in blood and if it varies in terms of host susceptibility and parasite pathogenicity. Highly susceptible, less susceptible and non-susceptible hosts were involved. Blood samples were taken 1 day, 1 week and 1 month post exposure to M. cerebralis and M. pseudodispar, respectively. The prevalence and infection intensity was estimated by parasite-specific quantitative real-time PCR. Although previous findings assumed that M. cerebralis might escape from host immune system by migrating via peripheral nerves, our experimental results demonstrated that M. cerebralis is present in blood during the early stage of intrapiscine development. For the non-pathogenic M. pseudodispar, the highest infection prevalence was found in the original host, common roach Rutilus rutilus, whereas the highest infection intensity was detected in rudd Scardinius erythrophthalmus, a “dead-end” host of the parasite. The presence of M. pseudodispar developmental stages in the blood of both susceptible and non-susceptible cyprinids suggests that the susceptibility differences remain hidden during the early stage of infection. Our findings supply further evidence that host specificity is not determined during the early, intrapiscine development involving the vascular system. Furthermore, we found remarkable differences in the infection dynamics of the two parasite species examined, possibly due to their distinct pathogenicity or variations in adaptive capabilities to immune components in host blood.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)