Stages of Granulomatous Response Against Histozoic Metazoan Parasites in Mullets (Osteichthyes Mugilidae)

Marta Polinas, Francesc Padrós, Paolo Merella, Marino Prearo, Marina Antonella Sanna, Fabio Marino, Giovanni Pietro Burrai, Elisabetta Antuofermo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Histozoic parasite-fish host interaction is a dynamic process that leads to the formation of a granuloma, a specific chronic inflammatory response with discernible histological features. Mullets (Osteichthyes: Mugilidae) represent a suitable model concerning the development of such lesions in the host-parasite interface. The present work aimed to identify granuloma developmental stages from the early to the late phase of the infection and to characterize the immune cells and non-inflammatory components of the granuloma in different stages. For this purpose, 239 mullets were collected from 4 Sardinian lagoons, and several organs were examined by combining histopathological, bacteriological, and immunohistochemical methods. Granulomas associated with trematode metacercariae and myxozoan parasites were classified into three developmental stages: (1) pre-granuloma stage, characterized by intact encysted parasite and with no or mild tissue reaction; (2) intermediate stage, with partially degenerated parasites, necrosis, and a moderate number of epithelioid cells (ECs); and (3) late stage, with a necrotic core and no detectable parasite with a high number of ECs and fibroblasts. The three-tier staging and the proposed morphological diagnosis make it conceivable that histopathology could be an essential tool to evaluate the granulomas associated with histozoic parasitic infection in fish.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 21 May 2021


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