Parasitology Research

, Volume 115, Issue 11, pp 4229–4237 | Cite as

Enteromyxum leei (Myxosporea: Bivalvulida) as the cause of myxosporean emaciation disease of farmed olive flounders (Paralichthys olivaceus) and a turbot (Scophthalmus maximus) on Jeju Island, Korea

  • Mariko Sekiya
  • Aogu Setsuda
  • Hiroshi SatoEmail author
  • Kicheon Song
  • Jung-Kyun Han
  • Gyeong-Ju Kim
  • In Kyu Yeo
Original Paper


A life-threatening emaciation disease of unknown cause(s) is affecting the farming of olive flounders (Paralichthys olivaceus) and turbots (Scophthalmus maximus) on Jeju Island, Korea. As this is one of the major industries in the region, it is of great concern to local farmers trying to develop successful and sustainable aquaculture. We examined 16 olive flounders and one turbot cultured at three farms located in the southern part of Jeju Island, which manifested moderate to severe emaciation such as thinning of the body with notable appearance of bony ridges of the skull on heads. Fresh mucosal scrapings of the intestinal mucosa contained many myxosporean vegetative stages at various developments but not fully grown spores. Histological examination of gastrointestinal and other visceral organs revealed striking changes in the intestinal mucosa such as detachment and loss of the epithelium due to intensive parasitism of the myxosporean vegetative stages, accompanied by considerable leukocyte infiltration in the lamina propria, and at the final stage villus atrophy with no epithelial lining. Specific polymerase chain reaction using a pair of primers targeting a fragment of the 18S ribosomal RNA gene (rDNA) of Enteromyxum leei, a known pathogen causing myxosporean emaciation disease in a variety of cultured fish in Mediterranean countries and Japan, amplified 433-bp products in almost all diseased fish samples, particularly the gastrointestinal tract. Nearly the whole length of the 18S rDNA, 1672-bp long excluding primer-aligning sequences, of the present Korean isolate was comparable to those of E. leei isolates from Japan and Europe, particularly those from the former region. Taking the heavy load of various developmental stages of E. leei in the gastrointestinal mucosa into account, we ascribe the emaciation disease of the fish examined in the present study to this well-known myxosporean species and not to another unknown pathogen(s).


Myxosporean emaciation disease Enteromyxum leei Paralichthys olivaceus Scophthalmus maximus Korea 



We are indebted to Ms. Ji-Hyeon Ahn, Daebong LS, Ltd. for her Korean–Japanese translation. This study was supported in part by Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research 2015 from the Towa Foundation for Food Science and Research (HS), by Grant-in-Aid for International Collaboration Research in Asia 2016 from the Heiwa Nakajima Foundation, and by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number 15K07722.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mariko Sekiya
    • 1
  • Aogu Setsuda
    • 2
  • Hiroshi Sato
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Kicheon Song
    • 3
  • Jung-Kyun Han
    • 3
  • Gyeong-Ju Kim
    • 3
  • In Kyu Yeo
    • 4
  1. 1.Laboratory of Parasitology, Joint Faculty of Veterinary MedicineYamaguchi UniversityYamaguchiJapan
  2. 2.United Graduate School of Veterinary ScienceYamaguchi UniversityYamaguchiJapan
  3. 3.Institute of BioscienceDAEBONG Live FeedSeogwipoRepublic of Korea
  4. 4.Faculty of Marine Biomedical ScienceJeju National UniversityJejuRepublic of Korea

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