The presence of sporogonic stages of Tetracapsuloides bryosalmonae in Icelandic salmonids detected using in situ hybridisation

Fjóla Rut Svavarsdóttir*, Mark A. Freeman, Pórólfur Antonsson, FriÐhjófur Árnason, Árni Kristmundsson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Proliferative kidney disease (PKD) is a widespread temperature-dependent disease in salmonids caused by the myxozoan parasite, Tetracapsuloides bryosalmonae (Canning, Curry, Feist, Longshaw et Okamura, 1999) (Tb). Tb has a two-host life cycle, involving fish as an intermediate host and freshwater bryozoans as the definitive host. Although salmonids are acknowledged as hosts for the parasite, it is less clear which fish species are active hosts in the life cycle of Tb. Differences in infection dynamics have been observed between some fish species, which are thought to be related to the existence of two main Tb-strains, the American and European. Iceland, having three species of indigenous salmonids and positioned geographically between Europe and North America, is an ideal location to study the natural development of Tb in wild fish. The main aim of this study was to determine the genetic origin of Tb in Iceland and confirm whether mature spores are produced in Icelandic salmonids. In this study, Icelandic salmonids were infected with the European Tb-strain. In situ hybridisation revealed that intraluminal sporogonic stages, including mature spores, were commonly observed in all three salmonid species. The presence of intraluminal stages has previously been confirmed in brown trout Salmo trutta Linnaeus and Atlantic salmon S. salar Linnaeus in Europe, but they have only been observed in Arctic charr Salvelinus alpinus (Linnaeus) in North America, infected by the local strain. This is, therefore, the first time that sporogonic stages have been observed in Arctic charr in Europe, where fish are infected with the European Tb-strain. Our data strongly suggest that all the three salmonid species inhabiting Icelandic waters serve as active hosts in the life cycle of Tb. However, for full confirmation, transmission trials are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalFolia Parasitologica
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2021

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Other keywords

  • Arctic charr
  • Atlantic salmon
  • brown trout
  • intratubular
  • PKD
  • proliferative kidney disease
  • salmonid
  • sporogony
  • In Situ Hybridization/veterinary
  • Myxozoa/growth & development
  • Trout
  • Salmo salar
  • Fish Diseases/parasitology
  • Animals
  • Parasitic Diseases, Animal/parasitology
  • Host-Parasite Interactions


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