Sanders, J.L., Watral, V., Stidworthy, M.F., Kent, M.L. (2016) Expansion of the Known Host Range of the Microsporidium, Pseudoloma neurophilia. Zebrafish. 13 Suppl 1:S102-6.
The microsporidium, Pseudoloma neurophilia, is the most common infectious organism found in laboratory zebrafish colonies. Many currently used zebrafish lines originally came from pet store fish, and the initial description of P. neurophilia came from zebrafish obtained from a retail pet store. However, as P. neurophilia has not been described from wild-caught zebrafish, whether P. neurophilia is a natural pathogen of zebrafish is an open question. The pooling of fish of different species in the aquarium fish trade is common and a generalist parasite could be transmitted to novel hosts in this scenario. We determined that P. neurophilia can infect seven species of fishes from five families by cohabitation with infected zebrafish: Betta splendens, Xiphophorus maculatus, Devario aequipinnatus, Pimephales promelas, Oryzias latipes, Carassius auratus and Paracheirodon innesi. Infections in these fishes were histologically similar to those of zebrafish. We include a case report of a laboratory population of fathead minnows with naturally acquired P. neurophilia infections. With such a broad host range, including several fish families, other laboratory fishes should be screened routinely for this and other microsporidian parasites.