Effects of vitamin B1 (thiamine) deficiency in lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) alevins at hatching stage

Marta Jaroszewska, Bong Joo Lee, Konrad Dabrowski, Sergiusz Czesny, Jacques Rinchard, Paulina Trzeciak, Bogdana Wilczyńska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objectives of this study were to examine the relationship between thiamine concentrations in unfertilized eggs and yolksac individuals of lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush), along with any associated histopathological changes in the tissues of alevins at the hatching stage. We address these questions in a lake trout population from different spawning grounds of Lake Michigan (North and South), known for compromised survival due to early mortality syndrome (EMS). However, a dichotomous forage base of lake trout spawning stocks, with a dietary thiaminase-rich alewife in the North, and dietary low-thiaminase round goby in the South, provides the basis for the assumption that different diets may lead to differences in severity of EMS between different stocks. Lake trout eggs of 18 females were collected and fertilized individually with the sperm of several males. The eggs, eyed embryos and newly-hatched alevins were sampled to examine thiamine utilization during embryogenesis. Progenies of females with low (< 0.73 nmol/g) and high (> 0.85 nmol/g) levels of thiamine were chosen for histological studies. The obtained results showed that total thiamine levels in the body and yolk of eyed embryos and alevins at hatching were influenced by thiamine levels of unfertilized eggs and it decreased during embryogenesis (to 51% in eyed embryos and 28% in newly-hatched alevins in comparison to unfertilized eggs). The survival of lake trout until hatching stage does not correlate with the thiamine level, however it was affected by collection site and was significantly higher in fish from the South site (Julian's Reef). At the hatching stage, no pathological changes were observed in the brain, olfactory lobe, retina or liver in embryos regardless of thiamine concentrations in unfertilized eggs. It has been concluded that an enhanced thiamine requirement for the fast muscle mass growth near the swim-up stage is responsible for overt and histopathological signs of EMS. Current study confirms earlier findings that lake trout suffering from EMS can be successfully treated by immersion in thiamine solution as late as at the swim-up stage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-262
Number of pages8
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology - A Molecular and Integrative Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2009


  • Early mortality syndrome (EMS)
  • Histopathology
  • Lake trout
  • Thiamine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology


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