The effect of vaccination and sea water entry on immunocompetence and susceptibility to Kudoa thyrsites in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.)

V. A. Funk, S. R.M. Jones, E. Kim, H. Kreiberg, K. Taylor, S. Wu, C. Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The effect of intraperitoneal (IP) vaccination and sea water entry (SWE) on the immunocompetence of Cascade Atlantic salmon was investigated. Smolts were IP injected with Aqua Health's Forte™ vaccine (Listonella (Vibrio) anguillarum, Listonella ordalii, Vibrio salmonicida and Aeromonas salmonicida) at four times (42, 238, 433 and 630 degree days, DD) prior to SWE and were examined for immunocompetence. Immune response measurements included mitogen-driven proliferation of peripheral blood leukocytes (PBL), head kidney leukocyte respiratory burst activity and alternative complement hemolytic titres and were measured 24h prior to SWE, 72h post-SWE and again 3.5 weeks post-SWE. A 50% reduction in the number of PBL was observed 3 days post-vaccination. At this time LPS-driven proliferation was low (stimulation index, SI, 1.5-2.9) in all groups prior to SWE compared with that of PBL from freshwater-reared Atlantic salmon parr (6.7). By 72h and 3.5 weeks post-SWE, the LPS-driven SI from unvaccinated salmon and those vaccinated 630 and 433 DD prior to SWE increased 3-fold. In contrast, SI from salmon vaccinated 42 and 238 DD prior to SWE remained low. A similar pattern was observed for cultured PBL stimulated with PHA, although unlike LPS-stimulated PBL, the SI of cells from parr and unvaccinated control smolts remained low following SWE but increased in fish vaccinated 433 and 630 DD prior to SWE. The respiratory burst activity of head kidney leukocytes was not affected by SWE but showed a transient 50% depression 3 days post-vaccination. The alternative complement activity (ACH50) was similar for all treatment groups prior to and at 72h post-SWE. By 3.5 weeks post-SWE, ACH50 values in salmon vaccinated 42 and 238 DD prior to SWE doubled to 874 and 860U/ml, respectively. The prevalence and severity of Kudoa thyrsites infections, detected in all treatment groups approximately 2400 DD following SWE, were not significantly different among groups. Atlantic salmon parr should be IP vaccinated no earlier than 433 DD before SWE to avoid an enhanced risk of acquiring pathogens because of transient depression in some immune mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)375-387
Number of pages13
JournalFish and Shellfish Immunology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2004



  • Atlantic salmon
  • Immunocompetence
  • Kudoa thyrsites
  • Sea water entry (SWE)
  • Vaccination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Aquatic Science

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