Atlantic salmon cardiac primary cultures: An in vitro model to study viral host pathogen interactions and pathogenesis
Development of Salmon Cardiac Primary Cultures (SCPCs) from Atlantic salmon pre-hatch embryos and their application as in vitro model for cardiotropic viral infection research are described. Producing SCPCs requires plating of trypsin dissociated embryos with subsequent targeted harvest from 24h up to 3 weeks, of relevant tissues after visual identification. SCPCs are then transferred individually to chambered wells for culture in isolation, with incubation at 15-22 degrees. SCPCs production efficiency was not influenced by embryo's origin (0.75/farmed or wild embryo), but mildly influenced by embryonic developmental stage (0.3 decline between 380 and 445 accumulated thermal units), and strongly influenced by time of harvest post-plating (0.6 decline if harvested after 72 hours). Beating rate was not significantly influenced by temperature (15-22 degrees) or age (2-4 weeks), but was significantly lower on SCPCs originated from farmed embryos with a disease resistant genotype (F = 5.3, p<0.05). Two distinct morphologies suggestive of an ex vivo embryonic heart and a de novo formation were observed sub-grossly, histologically, ultra-structurally and with confocal microscopy. Both types contained cells consistent with cardiomyocytes, endothelium, and fibroblasts. Ageing of SCPCs in culture was observed with increased auto fluorescence in live imaging, and as myelin figures and cellular degeneration ultra-structurally. The SCPCs model was challenged with cardiotropic viruses and both the viral load and the mx gene expression were measurable along time by qPCR. In summary, SCPCs represent a step forward in salmon cardiac disease research as an in vitro model that partially incorporates the functional complexity of the fish heart.