The heart is considered the powerhouse of the cardiovascular system. Heart and skeletal muscle inflammation (HSMI), cardiomyopathy syndrome (CMS) and pancreas disease (PD) are cardiac diseases of marine farmed Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) which commonly affect the heart in addition to the skeletal muscle, liver and pancreas. The main findings of these diseases are necrosis and inflammatory cells infiltrates affecting different regions of the heart. In order to better characterize the cardiac pathology, study of the inflammatory cell characteristics and cell cycle protein expression was undertaken by immunohistochemistry. Immunohistochemistry was performed on paraffin embedded hearts from confirmed diseased cases applying specific antibodies. The inflammatory cells were predominantly CD3(+) T lymphocytes. The PD diseased hearts exhibited moderate hypoxia inducible factor-1α (HIF1α) immuno-reaction that suggested tissue hypoxia while recombinant tumor necrosis factor-α (rTNFα) antibody identified putative macrophages and eosinophilic granulocytes (EGCs) in addition to endocardial cells around lesions. There were strong to low levels of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II immunostaining in the diseased hearts associated with macrophage-like and lymphocyte-like cells. The diseased hearts expressed strong to low levels of apoptotic cells identified by caspase 3 and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase nick-end labeling (TUNEL) staining. The strong signals for proliferative cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) and TUNEL, and moderate levels of caspase 3 immuno-reactivity suggested a high cell turnover where DNA damage/repair might be occurring in the diseased hearts. Interestingly, the apparently similar cardiac diseases exhibited differences in the immunopathological responses in Atlantic salmon.
Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology, 2013, Vol 151, Issue 1-2, p. 49-62