Date of Award

Winter 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biological Sciences

Committee Director

David T. Gauthier

Committee Member

Dan Barshis

Committee Member

Wolfgang Vogelbein


Mycobacteriosis is a fatal disease in fishes caused by acid-fast bacteria in the genus Mycobacterium. This disease impacts aquaculture, aquariums, and wild fishes. Unfortunately, there are currently no non-lethal diagnostic tests for mycobacterial infection in fishes. Type IV delayed type hypersensitivity (DTH) responses in vivo and in vitro are currently used for the non-lethal detection of mycobacterial infections in humans and in animals; however, there is little information available on DTH responses in fishes. In this work, we examine in vivo DTH response in Striped Bass (Morone saxatilis), an important U.S. Eastern seaboard fish species, experimentally infected with Mycobacterium marinum and stimulated M. marinum antigen. No evidence of a DTH response was observed either grossly or histologically in our studies performed on Striped Bass. Pathological changes such as inflammation, myodegeneration, myoregeneration, hemorrhage, and granulomas were observed in both control and treatment groups histologically. Since an in vivo DTH assay requires multiple observations of a test subject, which may be impractical for fishes, we performed preliminary steps to lay the foundation for a non-lethal in vitro DTH assay similar to the QuantiFERON-TB Gold assay currently used in humans. This assay would quantify IFN-γ gene transcription of striped bass leukocytes in response to mycobacterial antigen exposure.


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