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M. S. Khan, S. A. Khan, Z. I. Chaudhary, M. N. Khan,1 A.  Aslam, K. Ashraf2, R. M. Ayyub and M. F. Rai

Department of Pathology1; Department of Fisheries and
Department of Parasitology,
University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lahore, 54000, Pakistan


    The present project was carried out to study the effects of acute and chronic mercury intoxication in Grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella). For acute phase experiment, 48 fish were divided into four equal groups (A, B, C and D). Groups B, C and D were given HgCl2 at sublethal dose as 0.4, 0.5 and 0.6 mg/L, respectively, while group A acted as control. Skin, gills and kidneys were isolated from the fish after 48 and 96 hours for pathological studies. For chronic phase, 72 fish were divided into five groups (E, F, G, H and I), containing 12 fish each except group E which contained 24 fish. Groups F, G, H and I were given HgCl2 at sublethal dose of 0.3 mg/L for 4, 8, 12 and 16 days, respectively, while group E acted as control. Skin, gills and kidneys were isolated from each group (F, G, H and I) after 4, 8, 12 and 16 days respectively for pathological studies.  During chronic phase in the treatment groups normal histology of epidermis was disturbed with increased number of immature cells. Overall, skin layers were atrophied and withered. Histopathology of gills showed hyperplasia of epithelial cells of gill filaments, fusion of secondary lamellae giving a club shaped appearance of filaments and contraction and sloughing of respiratory epithelium in groups F, G, H and I. Histopathological examination of kidneys also showed a wide range of toxicity lesions and destruction in treatment groups (F, G, H and I).  Disintegration and disorganization of cells of both renal and haemopoitic systems including dilatation of capillaries and thickening of basal lumen were observed. Mild to sever tubular epithelial degeneration, karyolysis, dilation and shrinkage of Bowman’s capsule and glomerulus were also observed. In chronic phase experiment, fish showed clinical signs including restlessness, difficult breathing, fin flickering and jerky movements. Suppressed growth rate was also observed in treatment groups (F, G, H and I). During acute phase, after 48 hours, these histopathological lesions were absent in all the groups in all the organs. But after 96 hours, these respective lesions in respective organs were usually of mild, moderate and severe nature in groups B, C and D, respectively. It was concluded that mercury intoxication not only resulted in marked histopathological changes and abnormal clinical signs but also depressed growth rate of fish.

Key words: Fish, Grass carp, mercury intoxication, histopathology, growth rate, clinical signs.

ISSN 0253-8318 (Print)
ISSN 2074-7764 (Online)