Histopathological alterations of the heart in fish: proposal for a standardized assessment

Dis Aquat Organ. 2016 Mar 30;118(3):185-94. doi: 10.3354/dao02971.


Histopathological alterations in the heart are often reported in fish as a result of exposure to a variety of chemical compounds. However, researchers presently lack a standardized method for the evaluation of histopathological alterations in the cardiovascular system of fish and the calculation of an 'organ index'. Therefore, we designed a method for a standardized assessment and evaluation of histopathological alterations in the heart of fish. As a model species, we used rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss, but the protocol was also successfully applied to other fish species belonging to different taxonomic orders. To test the protocol, we re-evaluated sections of atenolol-exposed and unexposed rainbow trout obtained in a previous study. The results were in accordance with those previously published, demonstrating the applicability of the protocol. The protocol provides a universal method for the comparative evaluation of histopathological changes in the heart of fish.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Fish Diseases / classification
  • Fish Diseases / pathology*
  • Heart / anatomy & histology
  • Heart Diseases / pathology
  • Heart Diseases / veterinary*
  • Myocardium / pathology
  • Oncorhynchus mykiss*