This study examined the osmoregulatory capability of Murray cod, Maccullochella peelii peelii, affected by chronic ulcerative dermatopathy (CUD) in intensive aquaculture. This condition appears to arise only in facilities utilizing groundwater, with the causative agent suggested to be a water-borne factor. Healthy Murray cod (~ 700 g) were transferred to a CUD-affected farm to monitor the progression of the syndrome and began to show signs of CUD after approximately five months. In order to evaluate possible effects of CUD on osmoregulation; plasma electrolyte concentrations, osmolality, and Na+,K+-ATPase activities were measured, and gill histology and immunohistochemistry were analyzed. Plasma electrolyte concentrations and osmolality of CUD-affected Murray cod were consistent with reference values determined for non CUD-affected fish. A greater number of gill mucous cells were observed in Murray cod cultured at the CUD-affected farm compared to non CUD-affected fish. We also found an un-identified cell type that was present solely in the gills of CUD-affected Murray cod. Gill Na+,K+-ATPase activity was significantly higher in severely CUD-affected Murray cod compared to individuals transferred to the CUD-affected farm. While there appeared to be some minor changes in the gills of CUD-affected fish, this study demonstrated that Murray cod were able to effectively osmoregulate, although, perhaps at an energetic cost.
Field of Research
060604 Comparative Physiology
Socio Economic Objective
970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
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