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Parasitol Res. 2013 Feb;112(2):567-76. doi: 10.1007/s00436-012-3168-3. Epub 2012 Oct 20.

Effects of Enteromyxum leei (Myxozoa) infection on gilthead sea bream (Sparus aurata) (Teleostei) intestinal mucus: glycoprotein profile and bacterial adhesion.

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Instituto de Acuicultura Torre de Sal, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Torre de Sal s/n, 12595 Ribera de Cabanes, Castellón, Spain.


The intestinal myxosporean parasite Enteromyxum leei causes severe desquamative enteritis in gilthead sea bream (Sparus aurata) (Teleostei) that impairs nutrient absorption causing anorexia and cachexia. In fish, as in terrestrial vertebrates, intestinal goblet cells are responsible for the adherent mucus secretion overlying epithelial cells, which constitutes a first line of innate immune defense against offending microorganisms but serves also as substrate and nutrient source for the commensal microflora. The secreted intestinal mucus of parasitized (n = 6) and unexposed (n = 8) gilthead sea bream was isolated, concentrated, and subjected to downward gel chromatography. Carbohydrate and protein contents (via PAS and Bradford stainings), terminal glycosylation (via lectin ELISA), and Aeromonas hydrophila and Vibrio alginolyticus adhesion were analyzed for the isolated intestinal mucins. Parasitized fish, compared with unexposed fish, presented intestinal mucus mucins with a lower glycoprotein content and glycosylation degree at the anterior and middle intestine, whereas both glycoprotein content and glycosylation degree increased at the posterior intestine section, though only significantly for the total carbohydrate content. Additionally, a slight molecular size increase was detected in the mucin glycoproteins of parasitized fish. Terminal glycosylation of the mucus glycoproteins in parasitized fish pointed to an immature mucin secretion (N-acetyl-α-D-galactosamine increase, α-L-fucose, and neuraminic-acid-α-2-6-galactose reduction). Bacterial adhesion to large-sized mucus glycoproteins (>2,000 kDa) of parasitized fish was significantly lower than in unexposed fish.

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