Nematode infection in liver of the fish Gymnotus inaequilabiatus (Gymnotiformes: Gymnotidae) from the Pantanal Region in Brazil: pathobiology and inflammatory response
Most individual fish in farmed and wild populations are infected with parasites. Upon dissection of fish, helminths from gut are often easily visible. Enteric helminths include several species of digeneans, cestodes, acanthocephalans and nematodes. Some insights into biology, morphology and histopathological effects of the main fish enteric helminths taxa will be described here. The immune system of fish, as that of other vertebrates, can be subdivided into specific and aspecific types, which in vivo act in concert with each other and indeed are interdependent in many ways. Beyond the small number of well-described models that exist, research focusing on innate immunity in fish against parasitic infections is lacking. Enteric helminths frequently cause inflammation of the digestive tract, resulting in a series of chemical and morphological changes in the affected tissues and inducing leukocyte migration to the site of infection. This review provides an overview on the aspecific defence mechanisms of fish intestine against helminths. Emphasis will be placed on the immune cellular response involving mast cells, neutrophils, macrophages, rodlet cells and mucous cells against enteric helminths. Given the relative importance of innate immunity in fish, and the magnitude of economic loss in aquaculture as a consequence of disease, this area deserves considerable attention and support.