Multiple acute temperature stress affects leucocyte populations and antibody responses in common carp, Cyprinus carpio L.

M.Y. Engelsma, S. Hougee, D. Nap, M. Hofenk, J.H.W.M. Rombout, W.B. van Muiswinkel, B.M.L. Verburg-van Kemenade

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90 Citations (Scopus)


Stress is a potential factor causing increased susceptibility of fish to pathogens. In this study, stress-induced immunological changes that may contribute to a decreased immune status were investigated. A 3 h drop in ambient water temperature of 9 degreesC was used as a relative mild and acute stress model for carp. Effects of this stressor on the dynamics of leucocyte populations were determined with specific monoclonal antibodies. The relative number of circulating B-lymphocytes in the total leucocyte population decreased significantly within 4 h after the onset of single or multiple cold shocks. This decrease was reversible, as B-lymphocyte numbers were restored within 24 h. Most probably, a redistribution of B-lymphocytes contributed to this phenomenon. In head kidney, an increase was measured in the relative number of B-lymphocytes. Granulocyte numbers showed opposite reactions: the percentage of granulocytes in the total leucocyte population nearly doubled in circulation and decreased significantly in the head kidney. This demonstrates that in vivo, a mild stressor differentially alters the distribution of leucocytes. In stressed carp, the percentage of apoptotic lymphocytes in blood is significantly higher compared with the unstressed animals. B-lymphocytes as well as Ig(-) lymphoid cells contributed to this increased apoptosis. Labelling of blood lymphocytes with a polyclonal antiserum against the glucocorticoid receptor also showed, besides B-lymphocytes, part of the Ig(-) lymphoid cell population to be glucocorticoid receptor positive. As the distribution of B-lymphocytes was substantially affected, the effect of temperature stress on T-lymphocyte-independent (trinitrophenyl-lipopolysaccharide) and T-lymphocyte-dependent (dinitrophenyl-keyhole limpet hemocyanin) humoral antibody responses was determined. Kinetics of the primary antibody response to the T-lymphocyte-independent antigen showed lower antibody titres in stressed carp during the onset of the immune response, implying a slower development of the antibody response against the T-lymphocyte-independent antigen. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-410
Number of pages14
JournalFish and Shellfish Immunology
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • immune-system
  • atlantic salmon
  • glucocorticoid receptors
  • monoclonal-antibodies
  • coho salmon
  • cortisol
  • blood
  • cell
  • apoptosis
  • salar

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