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Identification and characterization of a novel intraepithelial lymphoid tissue in the gills of Atlantic salmon

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-16, 23:15 authored by Haugarvoll, E, Bjerkas, I, Barbara NowakBarbara Nowak, Hordvik, I, Koppang, EO
In addition to being the respiratory organ in fish, the gills form a barrier against the external milieu. Innate and adaptive immune system components have been detected in the gills, but lymphoid cell accumulations similar to that seen in the mammalian mucosa have not been described. The present investigations revealed cell accumulations on the caudal edge of interbranchial septum at the base of the gill filaments in the Atlantic salmon. Cytokeratin immunohistochemical staining and identification of a basal membrane and desmosome cell junctions by electron microscopy showed that the cell accumulation was located intraepithelially. Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II+ cells were detected by immunohistochemistry, and laser capture micro-dissection and subsequent RT-PCR analysis revealed expression of T-cell receptor transcripts in the investigated tissue, suggesting the presence of T cells. The intraepithelial tissue reported here may be a suitable location for immune surveillance of gill infections, as well as a target site for new vaccine approaches and investigations of epithelial immunity. This is the first description of a lymphocyte cell aggregation within a teleostian gill epithelium network, illustrating a phylogenetically early form of leukocyte accumulations in a respiratory organ. © Journal compilation © 2008 Anatomical Society of Great Britain and Ireland.


Publication title

Journal of Anatomy




202 - 209




Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Blackwell Publishing

Place of publication


Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Aquaculture fin fish (excl. tuna)

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