Development of a non lethal sampling method to monitor immune response and disease progression in salmonid fish

MM Monte, K Urquhart, R Hoare, K D Thompson, A Adams, C J Secombes, B Collet

Research output: Contribution to journalAbstract


To evaluate the virulence of pathogens, vaccine efficacy or to monitor immune responses in fish, experimental infections are traditionally carried out using a high number of animals which are killed at regular intervals during infection, with parameters such as pathogen load and/or immune response being measured. Since the stage of the disease is unknown when the fish are sampled, the traditional experimental infection model only describes very poorly the efficacy of the immune response at a given time
point. We are therefore developing a non lethal experimental infection model in order to reduce the number of fish required to assess the disease outcome and to improve the scientific information generated with respect to the course of infection and the fish immune response against it. To this end we have performed experimental bacterial (Yersina ruckeri) and viral
(Infectious salmon anaemia virus) infections and measured a variety of parameters (relating to pathogen load and immune response) in individual fish by collecting a small sample of blood (150 mL) at a number of time points over the course of the infection. Results revealed that is possible to examine the disease status of individual fish by repeatedly bleeding them, and also following their immune responses by qPCR and flow cytometric
analysis. The welfare issue of repeatedly bleeding the fish was closely monitored by measuring haematocrit values throughout the trial. The relationship between immune response, fish welfare and the pathological status of the fish can potentially help to predict the resistance status of livestock and the virulence of pathogens. In addition to contributing to the 3Rs principle, this project has the potential to improve the quality of scientific
output in fish disease research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1725
Number of pages1
JournalFish & Shellfish Immunology
Issue number6
Early online date4 May 2013
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013


Dive into the research topics of 'Development of a non lethal sampling method to monitor immune response and disease progression in salmonid fish'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this