Wound healing in post-smolt Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.)
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Skin biopsies (5 mm) taken from behind the dorsal fin on Atlantic salmon post-smolts were followed over a 2 month period. The healing process was dominated by hemostasis, acute inflammation, and epidermal repair the first 14 days post wounding (dpw), as shown through imaging, histological evaluation, and transcriptomics. Most of the immune genes showed decreased expression after two weeks, approaching the levels of intact skin, as also reflected in sections where reduced inflammation in the wound bed was observed. Transcriptional events suggest recruitment of lymphocytes to the wound site during the acute phase, with activation of humoral responses from 14 dpw and onward. From the histology, a more adherent mucus was observed that correlated with altered transcription of glycosyltransferases. This may indicate different properties and functions of the mucus during the wound healing process. Wound contraction started between 14 and 36 dpw. The occurrence of these events was concurrent with granulation tissue formation, melanocyte migration and up-regulation of genes involved in extracellular matrix formation. The presented description of the wound healing processes in Atlantic salmon gives insight into comparative ulcerative biology in mammals and fish and provides both novel and updated knowledge that can be applied for improved best operational practices for fish welfare in aquaculture.