The kinetics of cellular and humoral immune responses of common carp to presporogonic development of the myxozoan Sphaerospora molnari. Parasites & Vectors. doi: https://doi.org/10.1186/s13071-019-3462-3
Background: Sphaerospora molnari is a myxozoan parasite causing skin and gill sphaerosporosis in common carp (Cyprinus carpio) in central Europe. For most myxozoans, little is known about the early development and the expansion of the infection in the fish host, prior to spore formation. A major reason for this lack of information is the absence of laboratory model organisms, whose life-cycle stages are available throughout the year.
Results: We have established a laboratory infection model for early proliferative stages of myxozoans, based on separation and intraperitoneal injection of motile and dividing S. molnari stages isolated from the blood of carp. In the present study we characterize the kinetics of the presporogonic development of S. molnari, while analyzing cellular host responses, cytokine and systemic immunoglobulin expression, over a 63-day period. Our study shows activation of innate immune responses followed by B cell-mediated immune responses. We observed rapid parasite efflux from the peritoneal cavity (< 40 hours), an initial covert infection period with a moderate proinflammatory response for about 1–2 weeks, followed by a period of parasite multiplication in the blood which peaked at 28 days post-infection (dpi) and was associated with a massive lymphocyte response. Our data further revealed a switch to a massive anti-inflammatory response (up to 1456-fold expression of il-10), a strong increase in the expression of IgM transcripts and increased number of IgM+ B lymphocytes, which produce specific antibodies for the elimination of most of the parasites from the fish at 35 dpi. However, despite the presence of these antibodies, S. molnari invades the liver 42 dpi, where an increase in parasite cell number and indistinguishable outer cell membranes are indicative of effective exploitation and disguise mechanisms. From 49 dpi onwards, the acute infection changes to a chronic one, with low parasite numbers remaining in the fish.
Conclusions: To our knowledge, this is the first time myxozoan early development and immune modulation mechanisms have been analyzed along with innate and adaptive immune responses of its fish host, in a controlled laboratory system. Our study adds important information on host–parasite interaction and co-evolutionary adaptation of early metazoans (Cnidaria) with basic vertebrate (fish) immune systems and the evolution of host adaptation and parasite immune evasion strategies.