Use of computer-assisted image analysis for semiquantitative histology of the hepatopancreas in whiteleg shrimp Penaeus vannamei (Boone)

Journal of Fish Diseases

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Fabio Cervellione, Charles McGurk, Tommy Berger Eriksen, W Van den Broeck

  • computer-assisted image analysis
  • hepatopancreas
  • Penaeus vannamei
  • semi-quantitative histology
  • whiteleg shrimp



Despite    the increasing use of novel molecular techniques in pathology, histology    remains the standard method for monitoring tissue alterations and for    assessing pathology. Histopathological evaluation is generally laborious and    subjective with risk of discrepancies in semi-quantitative scoring between    pathologists. In contrast, computer-assisted image analysis (CAIA) is    potentially faster, more objective and thus suitable for routine screening.    Limited research has been carried out on CAIA in crustacean histopathology,    and the methods described were not fully automated. Therefore, the aim of    this study was to develop CAIA in whiteleg shrimp (Penaeus vannamei) for the    study of the hepatopancreas. Paraffin sections were immunohistochemically    stained with monoclonal antibodies WSH8 against haemocytes and    counterstained with Mayer′s haematoxylin for detection of haemocytes and    B-cell vacuoles, and modified toluidine blue protocol was used for detection    of F-cells; frozen sections were stained with Oil Red O for detection of    lipid droplets within R-cells. Visiopharm® software was used to develop and    validated protocols for the quantification of morphological parameters    (areas of haemocyte infiltration, F-cells, B-cell vacuoles, lipid droplets    and their ratios to total tissue area and total lumen area). These protocols    enable the future use of CAIA for determination of the nutritional and    pathological condition of this organ.