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Pseudoloma neurophilia Infection Combined with Gamma Irradiation Causes Increased Mortality in Adult Zebrafish (Danio rerio) Compared to Infection or Irradiation Alone: New Implications for Studies Involving Immunosuppression
Spagnoli, S., Sanders, J., Watral, V., Kent, M.L. (2016) Pseudoloma neurophilia Infection Combined with Gamma Irradiation Causes Increased Mortality in Adult Zebrafish (Danio rerio) Compared to Infection or Irradiation Alone: New Implications for Studies Involving Immunosuppression. Zebrafish. 13 Suppl 1:S107-14.
Gamma irradiation is commonly used as a bone marrow suppressant in studies of the immune system and hematopoiesis, most commonly in mammals. With the rising utility and popularity of the zebrafish (Danio rerio), gamma irradiation is being used for similar studies in this species. Pseudoloma neurophilia, a microparasite and common contaminant of zebrafish facilities, generally produces subclinical disease. However, like other microsporidia, P. neurophilia is a disease of opportunity and can produce florid infections with high morbidity and mortality, secondary to stress or immune suppression. In this study, we exposed zebrafish to combinations of P. neurophilia infection and gamma irradiation to explore the interaction between this immunosuppressive experimental modality and a normally subclinical infection. Zebrafish infected with P. neurophilia and exposed to gamma irradiation exhibited higher mortality, increased parasite loads, and increased incidences of myositis and extraneural parasite infections than fish exposed either to P. neurophilia or gamma irradiation alone. This experiment highlights the devastating effects of opportunistic diseases on immunosuppressed individuals and should caution researchers utilizing immunosuppressive modalities to carefully monitor their stocks to ensure that their experimental animals are not infected.