Distribution of Kudoa thyrsites (Cnidaria, Myxozoa) myoliquefactive stages in Northeast Atlantic mackerel (Scomber scombrus) inferred from qPCR and histology
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionParasitology Research. 2022, 121, 2325-2336. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00436-022-07575-8
Kudoa thyrsites is a myxosporean parasite (Cnidaria, Myxozoa) that infects the skeletal and cardiac muscle of Northeast Atlantic (NEA) mackerel (Scomber scombrus). Heavy infections are associated with post-mortem myoliquefaction of the host skeletal muscle which reduces the quality of the fish product. The biological infection characteristics of the parasite in NEA mackerel are poorly known. This study examined the distribution of K. thyrsites in various organs of NEA mackerel from the northern North Sea, and elucidates the relationship between density of infection, developmental stage and parasite distribution in the musculature, and the extent of visible flesh myoliquefaction. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) data showed that K. thyrsites is unevenly distributed in the somatic musculature of the fish host, with highest density in the anterior ventral muscle sections—the belly flaps. A weak positive correlation was observed between the level of myoliquefaction and the parasite density in the fish host muscle. This relationship was also reflected by the amount and distribution of parasite developmental stages seen during histological examinations. Histological findings indicate an association between the dispersion of free myxospores and the level of myoliquefaction of the fish host muscle. Visceral organs were also found infected using qPCR, although at lower densities compared to the musculature.