A practical guide to unbiased quantitative morphological analyses of the gills of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in ecotoxicological studies.

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    • Abstract:
      Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) are frequently used as experimental animals in ecotoxicological studies, in which they are experimentally exposed to defined concentrations of test substances, such as heavy metals, pesticides, or pharmaceuticals. Following exposure to a broad variety of aquatic pollutants, early morphologically detectable toxic effects often manifest in alterations of the gills. Suitable methods for an accurate and unbiased quantitative characterization of the type and the extent of morphological gill alterations are therefore essential prerequisites for recognition, objective evaluation and comparison of the severity of gill lesions. The aim of the present guidelines is to provide practicable, standardized and detailed protocols for the application of unbiased quantitative stereological analyses of relevant morphological parameters of the gills of rainbow trout. These gill parameters inter alia include the total volume of the primary and secondary gill lamellae, the surface area of the secondary gill lamellae epithelium (i.e., the respiratory surface) and the thickness of the diffusion barrier. The featured protocols are adapted to fish of frequently used body size classes (300–2000 g). They include well-established, conventional sampling methods, probes and test systems for unbiased quantitative stereological analyses of light- and electron microscopic 2-D gill sections, as well as the application of modern 3-D light sheet fluorescence microscopy (LSFM) of optically cleared gill samples as an innovative, fast and efficient quantitative morphological analysis approach. The methods shown here provide a basis for standardized and representative state-of-the-art quantitative morphological analyses of trout gills, ensuring the unbiasedness and reproducibility, as well as the intra- and inter-study comparability of analyses results. Their broad implementation will therefore significantly contribute to the reliable identification of no observed effect concentration (NOEC) limits in ecotoxicological studies and, moreover, to limit the number of experimental animals by reduction of unnecessary repetition of experiments. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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