The effect of a practical plant protein-based diet containing vegetable oils (VO) as the major lipid source on the mucosal carbohydrate pattern of the intestine was studied in gilthead sea bream Sparus aurata challenged with the myxosporean parasite Enteromyxum leei. Fish fed for 9 mo either a fish oil (FO) diet or a blend of VO at 66% of replacement (66VO diet) were exposed to parasite-contaminated water effluent. Samples of the anterior, middle and posterior intestine (AI, MI and PI, respectively) were obtained for parasite diagnosis and histochemistry. Fish were categorised as control (C, not exposed), early (E) or late (L) infected. Mucin and lectin histochemistry was applied to detect the different types of mucins and sialic acid in goblet cells (GC), the brush border and enterocytes. The number of GC stained with periodic acid Schiff (PAS), alcian blue (AB), aldehyde fuchsin-alcian blue (AF-AB), for the detection of neutral, acidic, sulphated and carboxylic mucins, and with the lectin Sambucus nigra agglutinin (SNA), were counted in digital images. The 66VO diet produced a significant decrease of GC with neutral and acidic mucins in the AI and MI, and also of those with carboxylic mucins and sialic acid in the MI. Sulphated mucins and sialic acid were less abundant in the AI than in the MI and PI in the C-66VO treatment. E. leei infection had a strong effect on the number of GC, as E and L infected fish had a significant decrease of GC positive for all the stains versus C fish in PI. Time and diet effects were also observed, since the lowest values were mostly registered in E-66VO fish in PI. In conclusion, though GC depletion was mainly induced by enteromyxosis, an effect of the diet was also observed. Thus, the diet can be a predisposing factor that worsens the disease course.
Dis. Aquat. Org. (Diseases of aquatic organisms)
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