Data_Sheet_1_High-Load Reovirus Infections Do Not Imply Physiological Impairment in Salmon.pdf
The recent ubiquitous detection of PRV among salmonids has sparked international concern about the cardiorespiratory performance of infected wild and farmed salmon. Piscine orthoreovirus (PRV) has been shown to create substantial viremia in salmon by targeting erythrocytes for principle replication. In some instances, infections develop into heart and skeletal muscle inflammation (HSMI) or other pathological conditions affecting the respiratory system. Critical to assessing the seriousness of PRV infections are controlled infection studies that measure physiological impairment to critical life support systems. Respiratory performance is such a system and here multiple indices were measured to test the hypothesis that a low-virulence strain of PRV from Pacific Canada compromises the cardiorespiratory capabilities of Atlantic salmon. Contrary to this hypothesis, the oxygen affinity and carrying capacity of erythrocytes were unaffected by PRV despite the presence of severe viremia, minor heart pathology and transient cellular activation of antiviral response pathways. Similarly, PRV-infected fish had neither sustained nor appreciable differences in respiratory capabilities compared with control fish. The lack of functional harm to salmon infected with PRV in this instance highlights that, in an era of unprecedented virus discovery, detection of viral infection does not necessarily imply bodily harm and that viral load is not always a suitable predictor of disease within a host organism.
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