, Volume 328, Issue 1, pp 109-116
Date: 22 Nov 2006

Histological changes in intestine of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) following in vitro exposure to pathogenic and probiotic bacterial strains

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Furunculosis and vibriosis are diseases that cause severe economic losses in the fish-farming industry. The foregut of the Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) was exposed in vitro to two fish pathogens, Aeromonas salmonicida (causative agent of furunculosis) and Vibrio anguillarum (causative agent of vibriosis), and to one probiotic strain, Carnobacterium divergens, at 6 × 104 or 6 × 106 viable bacteria per milliliter. Histological changes following bacterial exposure were assessed by light and electron microscopy. Control samples (foregut exposed to Ringer’s solution only) and samples exposed only to C. divergens had a similar appearance to intact intestinal mucosal epithelium, with no signs of damage. However, exposure of the foregut to the pathogenic bacteria resulted in damaged epithelial cells, cell debris in the lumen, and disorganization of the microvilli. Co-incubation of the foregut with a pathogen and C. divergens did not reverse the damaging effects caused by the pathogen, although these were alleviated when probiotic bacteria were used. Based on these results, we suggest that the probiotic bacterium, C. divergens, is able to prevent, to some extent, pathogen-induced damage in the Atlantic salmon foregut.

I. Salinas thanks Fundacion Seneca for a PhD studentship.