Effects of acute stress on blood clotting and yeast killing by phagocytes of rainbow trout

M.A.W. Ruis, C.J. Bayne

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    The effects of different levels of acute stress on blood parameters in rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss were examined. Experimental fish were exposed to a combination of stressors, including handling, confinement, and thermal shock, and were bled 30 s to 30 min later. Control fish were sampled quickly without intentional stress. Two activities of blood were investigated: (1) whole-blood clotting (coagulation) times and (2) the ability of heparinized plasma to influence the survival of yeast soaked in this plasma and subsequently exposed to trout phagocytes. The speed of blood clotting increased with increasing levels of stress, whereas blood from many resting fish failed to clot. Yeast incubated in plasma from stressed fish before exposure to pronephric phagocytes experienced a greater reduction in colony-forming units (cfus) than yeast incubated in plasma from resting fish. Different levels of stress did not induce significant differences in reduction of yeast cfus. These data support the idea that acute stress may actually stimulate primary defense mechanisms rather than suppress them. Furthermore, whole-blood clotting times seemed to be reliable indicators of the severity of stressors to which fish were exposed. We postulate that factors appearing in blood very quickly, such as catecholamines and specific plasma proteins, play important roles in both the killing activities of phagocytes and the blood-clotting process.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)190-195
    JournalJournal of aquatic animal health
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1997

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