University Of Tasmania

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Amoebic gill disease: sequential pathology in cultured Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar L

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-16, 16:31 authored by Mark AdamsMark Adams, Barbara NowakBarbara Nowak
Amoebic gill disease (AGD) affects the marine culture phase of Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar L., in Tasmania. Here, we describe histopathological observations of AGD from smolts, sampled weekly, following transfer to estuarine/marine sites. AGD was initially detected histologically at week 13 posttransfer while gross signs were not observed for a further week post-transfer. Significant increases (P < 0.001) in the proportion of affected gill filaments occurred at weeks 18 and 19 post-transfer coinciding with the cessation of a halocline and increased water temperature at the cage sites. The progression of AGD histopathology, during the sampling period, was characterized by three phases. (1) Primary attachment/interaction associated with extremely localized host cellular alterations, juxtaposed to amoebae, including epithelial desquamation and oedema. (2) Innate immune response activation and initial focal hyperplasia of undifferentiated epithelial cells. (3) Finally, lesion expansion, squamation-stratification of epithelia at lesion surfaces and variable recruitment of mucous cells to these regions. A pattern of preferential colonization of amoebae at lesion margins was apparent during stage 3 of disease development. Together, these data suggest that AGD progression was linked to retraction of the estuarine halocline and increases in water temperature. The host response to gill infection with Neoparamoeba sp. is characterized by a focal fortification strategy concurrent with a migration of immunoregulatory cells to lesion-affected regions.


Publication title

Journal of Fish Diseases










Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Blackwell Publishing Co

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Fisheries - aquaculture not elsewhere classified

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