Red mark syndrome in rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss: investigation of immune responses in lesions using histology, immunohistochemistry and analysis of immune gene expression

Ú McCarthy, E Casadei, T Wang, C J Secombes

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18 Citations (Scopus)


Red mark syndrome (RMS) is an economically significant disease which affects farmed rainbow trout in the United Kingdom, in the US and in mainland Europe. From the pattern of incidence, it appears to be transmissable, although no causative agent has yet been identified. RMS presents as a severe lymphocytic infiltration centred on the dermis and an alternative, host-focused approach was taken to understand the disease through investigating immune responses occurring in the lesion. Lesion and non-lesion skin at different stages of lesion development were examined using histochemistry and immunohistochemistry on paraffin sections. Expression of immune-related genes was compared between lesion and non-lesion skin. Investigation of early stage lesions suggested that the initial immune response is targeted at the region of the scale pocket, with lymphocyte infiltration and anti-tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α staining of the stratum spongiosum, and increased numbers of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) II-positive cells immediately adjacent to the scale pocket. Gene expression analysis suggested a counterbalancing T helper (Th)1 and T regulatory (Treg) - type response is occurring in the lesion, with repression of Th2 and Th17-type responses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1119-11130
Number of pages12
JournalFish & Shellfish Immunology
Issue number5
Early online date9 Feb 2013
Publication statusPublished - May 2013



  • animals
  • antigen-presenting cells
  • fish diseases
  • gene expression regulation
  • major histocompatibility complex
  • Oncorhynchus mykiss
  • polymerase chain reaction
  • tumor necrosis factor-alpha
  • rainbow trout
  • red mark syndrome
  • lesion
  • gene expression

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