Healthy and infected Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) skin-mucus response to Tenacibaculum dicentrarchi under in vitro conditions

Macarena Echeverría-Bugueño, Rute Irgang, Jorge Mancilla-Schulz, Ruben Avendaño-Herrera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Tenacibaculosis caused by Tenacibaculum dicentrarchi is the second most important bacterial disease that affects the Chilean salmon industry. The impacted fish show severe external gross skin lesions on different areas of the body. The external mucus layer that covers fish skin contains numerous immune substances that act as one of the main defense barriers against microbial colonization and invasions by potential pathogens. The present in vitro study aimed to evaluate and elucidate the role of the external mucus layer in the susceptibility of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) to three Chilean T. dicentrarchi strains and the type strain. For this, mucus collected from healthy and diseased (i.e., with T. dicentrarchi) Atlantic salmon were used, and various antibacterial and inflammatory parameters were analysed. The T. dicentrarchi strains were attracted to the mucus of Atlantic salmon regardless of health status. All four strains adhered to the skin mucus and very quickly grew using the mucus nutrients. Once infection was established, different mucosal defense components were activated in the fish, but the levels of bactericidal activity and of other enzymes were insufficient to eliminate T. dicentrarchi. Alternatively, this pathogen may be able to neutralize or evade these mechanisms. Therefore, the survival of T. dicentrarchi in fish skin mucus could be relevant to facilitate the colonization and subsequent invasion of hosts. The given in vitro results suggest that greater attention should be given to fish skin mucus as a primary defense against T. dicentrarchi.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108747
JournalFish and Shellfish Immunology
Publication statusPublished - May 2023


  • Atlantic salmon
  • Immune response
  • Mucus
  • Tenacibaculosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Aquatic Science
  • Immunology and Microbiology (miscellaneous)


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