Most of the studies on fish diseases focus on single infections, although in nature co-infections occur more often. The two freshwater myxozoan parasites of salmonids, having high economic and ecologic relevance are Tetracapsuloides bryosalmonae (Malacosporea), the etiological agent of proliferative kidney disease, and Myxobolus cerebralis (Myxosporea), the etiological agent of whirling disease. The present study aims to investigate immune modulation in rainbow trouts (Oncorhynchus mykiss) during single and co-infections by these parasites.
Fish were initially infected with T. bryosalmonae (one group) and M. cerebralis (another group) separately. At 30 days post-exposure (dpe), both the single species infected groups were co-infected, respectively, with the other parasite. Posterior kidney and cartilage cranium samples were collected at 30, 60, 90 and 120 dpe and RT-qPCR was performed on them to assess the transcription of suppressors of cytokine signaling (SOCS) -1 and -3, Janus kinase-1 (JAK-1) and signal transducer and activator of transcription-3 (STAT-3) genes.
Kidney samples from the T. bryosalmonae-infected group showed upregulation of all immune genes tested between 60-120 dpe. Crania from the single M. cerebralis-infected group and the M. cerebralis and T. bryosalmonae co-infected group exhibited upregulation of SOCS-1 and JAK-1 between 60-120 dpe and SOCS-3 at 120 dpe. However, only in the single M. cerebralis-infected group, was a statistically significant expression of STAT-3 observed at 30 and 60 dpe.
The results of this study indicate that both T. bryosalmonae and M. cerebralis induce overexpression of SOCS-1 and SOCS-3 genes and modulate the host immune response during the development of parasite to cause immunosuppression.