Rescue of fish exposed to a lethal dose of pathogen, by signals from sublethally exposed survivors
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Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss, Walbaum) were challenged intraperitoneally with a sublethal dose of Vibrio anguillarum VIB1 and allowed to recover. Then, after 7 days, naïve fish, (designated as 'bystander' fish) which had never been exposed to the pathogen, were introduced to the same tank. These swam with the adapted (recovered) fish for 7 days before both groups and a control (never exposed directly to the pathogen or to recovered fish) group were exposed to a lethal dose of VIB1. Mortality records were 100% in the control group within 3 days, 47% in the adapted group and 60% in the unchallenged bystander group, which swam with the adapted group. In both the latter groups, the time to death of the non-surviving fish was attenuated. This inter-animal communication of signals has previously been documented for animals exposed to ionizing radiation. Assays of tissues from control, challenged and 'bystander fish exposed to the pathogen showed that a signal as yet unidentified but similar to that seen in bystanders to irradiated fish was being produced. This signal caused a sharp and transient increase in intracellular calcium and a decrease in clonogenicity in a well-characterized reporter assay.
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