Journal of fish diseases

Histopathological and ultrastructural assessment of two mugilid species infected with myxozoans and helminths.

PMID 29064086


The histopathology and ultrastructure of the intestine of mullets, Liza ramada and Liza saliens, from Comacchio lagoons (northern Italy) naturally infected with myxozoans and helminths were investigated and described. Sixty-two (80.5%) of 77 mullets harboured one or more of the following parasites species: Myxobolus mugchelo (Myxozoa), Neoechinorhynchus agilis (Acanthocephala), Haplosplanchnus pachysomus and Dicrogaster contractus (Digenea). Co-occurrence of helminths with myxozoans was common. The main damage caused by digeneans was destruction of the mucosal epithelium of the villi, necrosis and degeneration of intestinal epithelial cells. More severe intestinal damage was caused by acanthocephalans which reach the submucosa layer with their proboscis. At the site of helminths infection, several mast cells (MCs), rodlet cells (RCs), mucous cells and few neutrophils and macrophages were observed in the epithelium. RCs and mucous cells exhibited discharge activity in close vicinity to the worm's tegument. M. mugchelo conspicuous plasmodia were encysted mainly in muscle and submucosa layers of the intestine. Indeed, spores of M. mugchelo were documented within the epithelial cells of host intestine and in proximity to MCs. Degranulation of the MCs near the myxozoans was very frequent.