Controlled infection of Poecilia reticulata Peters (guppy) with Tetrahymena by immersion and intraperitoneal injection

G. Sharon, M. Pimenta-Leibowitz, M. C.L. Vilchis, N. Isakov, D. Zilberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tetrahymena is a protozoan parasite, which infects guppy, Poecilia reticulata Peters, and causes substantial economical losses in commercial farms worldwide. Studies of guppy infected by Tetrahymena require standardized infection protocols. The LD50 for Tetrahymena infection of guppies by intraperitoneal (IP) injection was calibrated, and the level obtained was 946 parasites per fish. Guppy infection with Tetrahymena by immersion, imitating the natural route of infection via the integument, was studied under normal or stress conditions. Exposure to cold and netting (CNI) and to cold only (CI) followed by immersion exposure to 10 000 Tetrahymena per mL resulted in 22.5% and 19.2% mortality, respectively, as compared to 14.2% and 10% in groups that were netted only (NI) or non-stressed (I). Histopathology revealed that immersion infection resulted in a systemic infection. Lysozyme levels, measured 3 weeks after infection, were significantly higher in the CNI group (288 μg per mg protein) compared with CI-, NI- and I-treated groups (94.5, 64 and 62.3 μg mg-1, respectively). There was no evident parasite immobilization activity in body homogenates, suggesting no development of acquired immunity. Re-infection by IP injection revealed no increase in protection in any of the treatment groups, mortality range of 56.3-75%, higher than in the non-exposed control (40.6% mortality).

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)67-74
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Fish Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Guppy
  • Immersion
  • Infection
  • Injection
  • Tetrahymena

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aquatic Science
  • veterinary (miscalleneous)


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