The use of bacteriophages in the treatment and prevention of infections by the fish pathogen Flavobacterium psychrophilum has attracted increased attention in recent years. It has been shown recently that phage delivery via the parenteral route resulted in immediate distribution of phages to the circulatory system and the different organs. However, little is known about phage dispersal and survival in vivo in rainbow trout after delivery via the oral route. Here we examined the dispersal and survival of F. psychrophilum phage FpV-9 in vivo in juvenile rainbow trout after administration by three different methods-bath, oral intubation into the stomach, and phage-coated feed-with special emphasis on the oral route of delivery. Phages could be detected in all the organs investigated (intestine, spleen, brain, and kidney) 0.5 h postadministration, reaching concentrations as high as ?10(5) PFU mg intestine(-1) and ?10(3) PFU mg spleen(-1) within the first 24 h following the bath and ?10(7) PFU mg intestine(-1) and ?10(4) PFU mg spleen(-1) within the first 24 h following oral intubation. The phages were most persistent in the organs for the first 24 h and then decreased exponentially; no phages were detected after 83 h in the organs investigated. Phage administration via feed resulted in the detection of phages in the intestine, spleen, and kidney 1 h after feeding. Average concentrations of ?10(4) PFU mg intestine(-1) and ?10(1) PFU mg spleen(-1) were found throughout the experimental period (200 h) following continuous delivery of phages with feed. These experiments clearly demonstrate the ability of the phages to survive passage through the fish stomach and to penetrate the intestinal barrier and enter the circulatory system after oral delivery, although the quantity of phages found in the spleen was 100- to 1,000-fold lower than that in the intestine. It was also shown that phages could tolerate long periods of desiccation on the feed pellets, with 60% survival after storage at -80°C, and 10% survival after storage at 5°C, for ?8 months. Continuous delivery of phages via coated feed pellets constitutes a promising method of treatment and especially prevention of rainbow trout fry syndrome.
This study investigated the influence of the rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) commensal intestinal microbiota in connection to an experimental Yersina ruckeri infection, the causative agent of enteric redmouth disease. One marine and one plant diet was administered to two different groups of rainbow trout. The plant-based diet gave rise to an intestinal microbiota dominated by the genera Streptococcus, Leuconostoc and Weissella from phylum Firmicutes whereas phylum Proteobacteria/Bacteroidetes/Actinobacteria dominated the community in the marine fed fish. In connection to the Y. ruckeri bath challenge there was no effect of the diet type on the cumulative survival, but the number of Y. ruckeri positive fish as measured by plate count and the number of fish with a 'high' number of reads belonging to genus Yersinia as measured by 16S rRNA next-generation sequencing was higher for marine diet fed fish. Furthermore, the two experimental groups of fish showed a differential immune response, where Y. ruckeri challenged marine fed fish had a higher transcription of IL-1? and MBL-2 relative to challenged plant diet fed fish. The data suggest that the plant diet gave rise to a prebiotic effect favouring the presence of bacterial taxons proving protective in connection to bath challenge by Y. ruckeri.
Flavobacterium psychrophilum is the causative agent of bacterial cold water disease (BCWD), which affects a variety of freshwater-reared salmonid species. A large-scale study was performed to investigate the genetic diversity of F. psychrophilum in the four Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden. Multilocus sequence typing of 560 geographically and temporally disparate F. psychrophilum isolates collected from various sources between 1983 and 2012 revealed 81 different sequence types (STs) belonging to 12 clonal complexes (CCs) and 30 singleton STs. The largest CC, CC-ST10, which represented almost exclusively isolates from rainbow trout and included the most predominant genotype, ST2, comprised 65% of all isolates examined. In Norway, with a shorter history (<10 years) of BCWD in rainbow trout, ST2 was the only isolated CC-ST10 genotype, suggesting a recent introduction of an epidemic clone. The study identified five additional CCs shared between countries and five country-specific CCs, some with apparent host specificity. Almost 80% of the singleton STs were isolated from non-rainbow trout species or the environment. The present study reveals a simultaneous presence of genetically distinct CCs in the Nordic countries and points out specific F. psychrophilum STs posing a threat to the salmonid production. The study provides a significant contribution toward mapping the genetic diversity of F. psychrophilum globally and support for the existence of an epidemic population structure where recombination is a significant driver in F. psychrophilum evolution. Evidence indicating dissemination of a putatively virulent clonal complex (CC-ST10) with commercial movement of fish or fish products is strengthened.
The immunological mechanisms associated with protection of vaccinated rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss, against enteric redmouth disease (ERM), caused by Yersinia ruckeri, were previously elucidated by the use of gene expression methodology and immunochemical methods. That approach pointed indirectly to both humoral and cellular elements being involved in protection. The present study correlates the level of protection in rainbow trout to cellular reactions in spleen and head kidney and visualizes the processes by applying histopathological, immunohistochemical, and in situ hybridization techniques. It was shown that these cellular reactions, which were more prominent in spleen than in head kidney, were associated with the expression of immune-related genes, suggesting a Th2-like response. Y. ruckeri, as shown by in situ hybridization (ISH), was eliminated within a few days in vaccinated fish, whereas nonprotected fish still harbored bacteria for a week after infection. Vaccinated fish reestablished normal organ structure within a few days, whereas nonprotected fish showed abnormalities up to 1 month postinfection. Protection in the early phase of infection was mainly associated with the expression of genes encoding innate factors (complement factors, lysozyme, and acute phase proteins), but in the later phase of infection, increased expression of adaptive immune genes dominated. The histological approach used has shown that the cellular changes correlated with protection of vaccinated fish. They comprised transformation of resident cells into macrophage-like cells and increased occurrence of CD8? and IgM cells, suggesting these cells as main players in protection. Future studies should investigate the causality between these factors and protection.
Attention has been drawn to phage therapy as an alternative approach for controlling pathogenic bacteria such as Flavobacterium psychrophilum in salmonid aquaculture, which can give rise to high mortalities, especially in rainbow trout fry. Recently, phages have been isolated with a broad host range and a strong lytic potential against pathogenic F. psychrophilum under experimental conditions. However, little is known about the fate of phages at environmental conditions. Here, we quantified the dispersal and fate of F. psychrophilum phages and hosts in rainbow trout fry after intraperitoneal injection. Both phages and bacteria were isolated from the fish organs for up to 10 days after injection, and coinjection with both bacteria and phages resulted in a longer persistence of the phage in the fish organs, than when the fish had been injected with the phages only. The occurrence of both phage and bacterium was most prevalent in the kidney and spleen, with only minor occurrence in the brain. The experiment showed that injected phages were rapidly spread in the internal organs of the fish, also in the absence of bacteria. Parallel examination of the regulation of bacteriophage infectivity in controlled laboratory experiments at various environmental conditions showed that pH had only minor effects on long-term (3 months) phage infectivity within a pH range of 4.5 to 7.5, whereas phage infectivity was immediately lost at pH 3. In the absence of host cells, phage infectivity decreased by a factor of 10,000 over 55 days in untreated pond water, while the sterilization and removal of particles caused a 100-fold increase in phage survival relative to the control. In addition, F. psychrophilum-specific phages maintained their infectivity for ?2 months in glycerol at -80°C, whereas infectivity decreased by a factor 10 when kept in a buffer at 20°C. Only a very small degradation in infectivity was seen when bacteriophages were added and dried on fish feed pellets. Together, these results indicate that application of bacteriophages represents a promising approach for the control of F. psychrophilum infections in trout and suggest fish feed as a potential delivery method.
Understanding of uptake and invasion routes of Yersinia ruckeri, causing Enteric Red Mouth Disease (ERM) in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), is essential for improved understanding of the pathogenicity and immune response mechanisms associated this disease. The present work shed light on areas of invasion in rainbow trout by the use of immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization techniques. Fish were exposed to live or formalin inactivated bacteria and samples were subsequently taken for histology from various outer and inner surfaces. We applied a specific monoclonal antibody and specific oligonucleotide probes binding to Y. ruckeri (serotype O1, biotype 2) in tissue sections and were able to demonstrate a tissue specific uptake of this bacterium (both formalin inactivated and live form). Uptake and subsequent translocation dynamics at various surfaces demonstrated different site specific propensities between the formalin inactivated and live bacterial organisms. Lateral lines, dorsal fin, epidermis and gastro-intestinal tract mucosal tissue were the primary areas where bacterial uptake was demonstrated readily after exposure. The fate of internalized bacterial organisms within the host suggested that central immune organs are involved in the final antigen processing.
Numerous outbreaks of enteric red mouth disease (ERM) caused by Yersinia ruckeri O1 biotype 2 in rainbow trout farms are currently being recorded despite established vaccination procedures against this disease. This could indicate that the currently used application of single immersion vaccination (using a commercial vaccine AquaVac(®) RELERA™) does not provide full protection. We elucidated by a controlled duplicated experiment if different vaccine administration methods can improve level and extent of protection. Rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss were vaccinated by: (1) a single immersion in bacterin diluted 1:10 for 30s (only primary vaccination); (2) two times 30s immersion (primary immersion vaccination followed by booster immersion vaccination 1 month later); (3) a single i.p. injection (only primary vaccination); (4) immersion vaccination followed by injection booster 1 month later; (5) a single 1h bath in bacterin diluted 1:2000; and (6) immersion (30s, 1:10) plus booster (1h in diluted 1:2000 vaccine) 5 months later). Injection challenge experiments were performed 3, 5 and 7 months post primary vaccination with 8.5×10(6) CFU/fish, 10.6×10(6) CFU/fish and 1×10(8) CFU/fish, respectively. In the first challenge trial, control fish exhibited a mortality of 76%, one time immersion vaccination had a mortality of 37%, two times immersion vaccinated fish had a 4% mortality, the one-time injection vaccinated group showed a mortality of 2% and the immersion plus injection boostered fish showed no mortality at all. When rainbow trout were challenged 5 months post primary vaccination, 26% mortality occurred in control fish, 21% in one time immersion group, 12% in two times immersion group, 5% in the one-time injection vaccinated group whereas immersion plus injection boostered fish again showed no mortality at all. When challenged 7 months post vaccination, one-time immersion vaccinated were not protected at all compared to the control group whereas injection vaccinated fish showed lower mortality (17%) compared to booster immersed fish (32% mortality) which was still better than un-vaccinated controls (44% mortality). It was noteworthy that a diluted bacterin (1:2000 for 1h after 5 months post primary vaccination) booster showed the same effect as a booster with 1:10 bacterin dilution for 30s applied 1 month after primary vaccination. Antibody levels showing significant elevations 28 days post challenge in vaccinated fish point to this immune parameter as a protective element. The superior and extended protection offered by booster vaccination or simply injection is noteworthy and may be applied in future vaccination strategies at farm level.
An experimental model for immersion challenge of rainbow trout fry (Oncorhynchus mykiss) with Flavobacterium psychrophilum, the causative agent of rainbow trout fry syndrome and bacterial cold water disease was established in the present study. Although injection-based infection models are reliable and produce high levels of mortality attempts to establish a reproducible immersion model have been less successful. Various concentrations of hydrogen peroxide (H?O?) were evaluated before being used as a pre-treatment stressor prior to immersion exposure to F. psychrophilum. H?O? accelerated the onset of mortality and increased mortality approximately two-fold; from 9.1% to 19.2% and from 14.7% to 30.3% in two separate experiments. Clinical signs observed in the infected fish corresponded to symptoms characteristically seen during natural outbreaks. These findings indicate that pre-treatment with H?O? can increase the level of mortality in rainbow trout fry after exposure to F. psychrophilum.
Biotype 2 (BT2) variants of the bacterium Yersinia ruckeri are an increasing disease problem in U.S. and European aquaculture and have been characterized as serovar 1 isolates that lack both peritrichous flagella and secreted phospholipase activity. The emergence of this biotype has been associated with an increased frequency of enteric redmouth disease (ERM) outbreaks in previously vaccinated salmonid fish. In this study, four independent specific natural mutations that cause the loss of both motility and secreted lipase activity were identified in BT2 strains from the United States, United Kingdom, and mainland Europe. Each of these was a unique mutation in either fliR, flhA, or flhB, all of which are genes predicted to encode essential components of the flagellar secretion apparatus. Our results demonstrate the existence of independent mutations leading to the BT2 phenotype; thus, this phenotype has emerged separately at least four times. In addition, BT2 strains from the United Kingdom were shown to have the same mutant allele found in U.S. BT2 strains, suggesting a common origin of this BT2 lineage. This differentiation of distinct BT2 lineages is of critical importance for the development and validation of alternative vaccines or other treatment strategies intended for the control of BT2 strains.
Here we demonstrate that flagellar secretion is required for production of secreted lipase activity in the fish pathogen Yersinia ruckeri and that neither of these activities is necessary for virulence in rainbow trout. Our results suggest a possible mechanism for the emergence of nonmotile biotype 2 Y. ruckeri through the mutational loss of flagellar secretion.
There have been increased reports of outbreaks of enteric redmouth disease (ERM) caused by Yersinia ruckeri in previously vaccinated salmonids in Europe, with some of these outbreaks being attributed to emergent non-motile, Tween 80-negative, biotype 2 isolates. To gain information about their likely origins and relationships, a geographically and temporally diverse collection of isolates were characterised by serotyping, biotyping, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and outer membrane protein (OMP) profiling. A total of 44 pulsotypes were identified from 160 isolates by PFGE, using the restriction enzyme NotI. Serotype O1 isolates responsible for ERM in rainbow trout in both the US and Europe, and including biotype 2 isolates, represented a distinct subgroup of similar pulsotypes. Biotype 2 isolates, responsible for outbreaks of the disease in rainbow trout in the UK, Denmark and Spain, had different pulsotypes, suggesting that they represented different clones that may have emerged separately. Danish biotype 2 isolates recovered since 1995 were indistinguishable by PFGE from the dominant biotype 1 clone responsible for the majority of outbreaks in Denmark and the rest of mainland Europe. In contrast, US biotype 2 isolate YRNC10 had an identical pulsotype and OMP profile to UK biotype 2 isolates, suggesting that there had been exchange of these isolates between the UK and the US in the past. UK Atlantic salmon isolates were genetically and serologically diverse, with 12 distinct pulsotypes identified among 32 isolates.
A multi-laboratory broth microdilution method trial was performed to standardize the specialized test conditions required for the fish pathogens Flavobacterium columnare and F. psychrophilum. Nine laboratories tested the quality control (QC) strains Escherichia coli ATCC 25922 and Aeromonas salmonicida subsp. salmonicida ATCC 33658 against 10 antimicrobials (ampicillin, enrofloxacin, erythromycin, florfenicol, flumequine, gentamicin, ormetoprim/sulfadimethoxine, oxolinic acid, oxytetracycline, and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole) in diluted (4 g l-1) cation-adjusted Mueller-Hinton broth incubated at 28 and 18°C for 44-48 and 92-96 h, respectively. QC ranges were set for 9 of the 10 antimicrobials. Most of the minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) distributions (16 of 18, 9 drugs at both temperatures) for A. salmonicida ATCC 33658 were centered on a single median MIC ± 1 two-fold drug dilution resulting in a QC range that spanned 3 dilutions. More of the E. coli ATCC 25922 MIC distributions (7 of 16) were centered between 2 MIC dilutions requiring a QC range that spanned 4 dilutions. A QC range could not be determined for E. coli ATCC 25922 against 2 antimicrobials at the low temperature. These data and their associated QC ranges have been approved by the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI), and will be included in the next edition of the CLSI M49-A Guideline. This method represents the first standardized reference method for testing fish pathogenic Flavobacterium spp.
Despite vaccination with a commercial vaccine with a documented protective effect against Vibrio anguillarum O1 disease outbreaks caused by this bacterium have been registered among rainbow trout at Danish fish farms. The present study examined specific serum antibody levels as a valid marker for assessing vaccination status in a fish population. For this purpose a highly sensitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was developed and used to evaluate sera from farmed rainbow trout vaccinated against V. anguillarum O1.
Furunculosis caused by infection with Aeromonas salmonicida subsp. salmonicida has been a known threat to aquaculture for more than a century. Efficient prophylactic approaches against this disease are essential for continued growth of salmonid aquaculture. Since the introduction of successful oil-adjuvanted vaccines in the early 1990s, a number of studies have been published on the protective as well as adverse effects of these vaccines. Most studies focus on vaccination of salmon (Salmo salar). However, rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) are also very susceptible to infection and are vaccinated accordingly. In this study we have examined the protection against infection with a Danish strain of A. salmonicida in both vaccinated and non-vaccinated rainbow trout. A commercial and an experimental auto-vaccine were tested. The protective effects of the vaccines were evaluated through an A. salmonicida challenge 18 weeks post vaccination. Both vaccines resulted in a significantly increased survival in the vaccinated fish during a 28 day challenge period relative to non-vaccinated fish (P?=?0.01 and P?=?0.001 for the commercial and experimental vaccine, respectively). Throughout the entire experiment, the presence of specific antibodies in plasma was monitored using ELISA. A significant increase in specific antibody levels was seen in fish vaccinated with both vaccines during the 18 weeks between vaccination and challenge. Within 3 days post challenge, a significant decrease in specific antibodies occurred in vaccinated fish. A positive correlation was found between mean levels of specific antibodies pre challenge and overall survival. This correlation, along with the observed depletion of antibodies during the initial phase of infection, suggests that specific antibodies play an essential role in vaccine mediated protection against A. salmonicida in rainbow trout.
Furunculosis, caused by Aeromonas salmonicida, continues to be a major health problem for the growing salmonid aquaculture. Despite effective vaccination programs regular outbreaks occur at the fish farms calling for repeated antibiotic treatment. We hypothesized that a difference in natural susceptibility to this disease might exist between Baltic salmon and the widely used rainbow trout.
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