Cysts of Myxobolus pendula from the gill arch of creek chub (Semotilus atromaculatus) were examined at various stages of development using light and electron microscopy. The subepithelial host connective tissue underwent dramatic changes, including degradation and remodelling of collagen and vascularisation, in response to the infection. Inflammatory cells lay in a fluid-filled space beneath the host's connective tissue and surrounded a distinctive parasite-derived matrix, composed of collagen fibril bundles embedded in cellular processes of the underlying secretory cells. This collagen matrix was resistant to degradation and invasion by leukocytes. Secretion of a matrix by M. pendula as a structural support, and a protective barrier against the host inflammatory cells is a novel observation for cyst-forming Myxosporea.
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Vol. 49 • No. 2