Pathological and Ultrastructural Characterization of an Edwardsiella ictaluri Triple hemR Mutant

Iman Ibrahim, Hossam Abdelhamed, Wes Baumgartner, Robert W. Wills, Walaa Awadin, Mahmoud Elbegawy, Mark L. Lawrence, Attila Karsi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Enteric septicemia of catfish, which is caused by Edwardsiella ictaluri, is detrimental to farmed Channel Catfish Ictalurus punctatus. The hemin receptor HemR is involved in binding and uptake of heme into bacteria. Here, we explored pathological and ultrastructural changes in catfish fry that were immunized with a triple hemR mutant of E. ictaluri and challenged with wild-type E. ictaluri (EiWT) 28 d after immunization. Following immunization, pathological changes in the triple hemR-immunized fry were less severe compared to the EiWT-exposed control fry. Widely disseminated bacteria and severe necrosis in most organs, especially the kidney and spleen, were detected in both groups at days 4, 5, and 6. Multifocal granulomatous encephalitis with bacteria was seen in hemR-immunized fry at days 21 and 28 and in EiWT-exposed control fry at day 14. Phagocytic cells in the kidney and spleen of EiWT-exposed control fry contained more replicating bacteria compared to hemR-immunized fry. During the EiWT challenge of immunized fry, a robust immune response was observed in the triple hemR-immunized fry compared to the sham-vaccinated group. Many activated phagocytic cells were detected in the kidney and spleen with fragmented or no bacteria in the triple hemR-immunized fry. Our data suggested that virulence of triple hemR was lower and the onset of the lesions was delayed compared to EiWT. Additionally, triple hemR-immunized fry could mount an immune response and had milder lesions compared to the sham control after EiWT exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-133
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Aquatic Animal Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science


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