Systemic tetrahymenosis constitutes a serious problem in guppy (Poecilia reticulata) production worldwide and no therapeutic solution is available for this disease. Three immunization trials were conducted, testing the effectiveness of different Tetrahymena preparations applied by intraperitoneal injection (IP) with or without Freund's complete adjuvant (FCA) and with or without booster dose. In trial 1, immunization with the pathogenic Tet-NI 6 lysate and live attenuated Tet-NI 1 did not provide significant protection from infection, although infection rates were significantly lower in the Tet-NI 6-immunized group than in controls. In trial 2, mortality in Tet-NI 6 + FCA-immunized fish was 10%, significantly lower than in all other treatment groups, including Tet-NI 6 lysate, live attenuated Tet-NI 1 and controls (77, 67 and 73%, respectively). In trial 3, the lowest mortality rates were obtained in the Tet-NI 6 + FCA + booster-immunized group (15%). These levels were lower but not significantly different from the non-boostered Tet-NI 6-immunized group (28%) and the groups immunized with Tet-NI 1, with and without booster (32 and 34%, respectively). Mortality in these four groups was significantly lower than in controls, including adjuvant- and PBS-injected groups (72 and 81%, respectively). Body homogenates of immunized fish immobilized Tetrahymena in-vitro, as compared to no or very little immobilization in controls. Lysozyme levels in the Tet-NI 6 + FCA + booster group were significantly higher than in all other treatments in trial 2 and controls in trial 3. There was no significant difference in anti-protease activity among the differently immunized fish. We conclude that immunization with Tetrahymena lysates in FCA confers a high degree of protection from infection, suggesting this preparation as a basis for vaccine development.
- Attenuated parasite
- Poecilia reticulata