Mycobacteriosis in Chesapeake Bay Striped Bass (Morone saxatilis): The Interaction of Nutrition and Disease
Jacobs, John M.
Harrell, Reginal M.
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Field and laboratory studies were conducted from 1998 - 2005 to examine the relationship between nutritional status and mycobacteriosis in Chesapeake Bay striped bass (Morone saxatilis). A review of DNA from archived tissue blocks indicated that the disease has been present since at least 1984. Field surveys and feeding trials were conducted from 1998-1999 to determine the nutritional condition of striped bass and the association with disease state. Proximate composition revealed elevated moisture (~ 80%) and low storage lipids (< 0.5% ww), characteristic of a poorly nourished population. These findings were not consistent with data collected in 1990-1991, or with experimentally fed fish. Mycobacteriosis explained little of the variance in chemical composition (p > 0.2); however elevated moisture and low lipid concentration were associated with fish with ulcerative lesions (p < 0.05). This suggests that age 3 and 4 striped bass were in poor nutritional health in 1998-1999, which may be independent from the disease process. Challenge studies were performed to address the hypothesis that disease progression and severity may be altered by nutritional status of the host. Intraperitoneal inoculation of 104 CFU M. marinum resulted in high mortality, elevated bacterial density, and poor granuloma formation in low ration (0.15% bw/d) groups while adequately fed fish (1% bw/d) followed a normal course of granulomatous inflammation with low mortality to a steady, equilibrium state. Further, we demonstrated that an active inflammatory state could be reactivated in fish through reductions in total diet. The energetic demand of mycobacteriosis, was insignificant in comparison to sham inoculated controls in adequately fed fish (p > 0.05). Declines in total body energy were only apparent during active, inflammatory stages of disease. Overall, these findings suggest that: 1) mycobacteriosis is not a new disease of Chesapeake Bay striped bass, 2) the disease has little energetic demand in the normal, chronic progression, and 3) poor nutritional health can greatly enhance the progression and severity, and reactivation of disease. The implications of this research are that management strategies focused on enhancing the nutritional state of striped bass could potentially alter the disease dynamics in Chesapeake Bay.