Immunopathological and ultrastructural studies were carried out on the gut of 30 specimens of powan Coregonus lavaretus (L.) from Lake Piediluco, Italy. The digestive tracts of 10 (33.3%) of the powan were found to harbour an acanthocephalan Dentitruncus truttae (Sinzar 1955). The numerous trunk spines of D. truttae reduced the number of mucosal folds near the parasite site of infection. The acanthocephalan induced hyperplasia and hypertrophy of the intestinal mucous cells and many worms were surrounded with an adherent mucous gel. Near the site of acanthocephalan attachment, the number of mucous cells was significantly higher (P < 0.01) in comparison to those found in uninfected intestines. Rodlet cells (RCs) were present in the epithelial layer in both infected and uninfected fish, with no significant difference in the numbers observed (P > 0.05). In infected intestine, mast cells were more abundant than in uninfected gut (P < 0.01). Migration of the mast cells and their intense degranulation at the site of infection were suggested. Immunohistochemical tests applied to sections of intestinal tissue of both infected and uninfected powan revealed that the parasitized C. lavaretus had a larger number of mast cells positive for met-enkephalin and serotonin antisera.
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