Department of Aquatic Animal Medicine, College of Fisheries, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, China; Hubei Engineering Technology Research Center for Aquatic Animal Disease Control and Prevention, Hubei Provincial Engineering Laboratory for Pond Aquaculture, Key Lab of Freshwater Animal Breeding, Ministry of Agriculture, Wuhan 430070, China. Electronic address: [Email]
The grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella), blunt snout bream (Megalobrama amblycephala) and yellow catfish (Pelteobagrus fulvidraco) are economically important fishes in China. Fish hematological features, especially the type and number of peripheral blood cells, are crucial for the evaluation of fish health and the diagnosis of fish diseases. Since the automatic blood cell count equipment for human is not suitable for fishes, the manual method is critical in the quantification of fish blood cells. To make sense of the comparison and interpretation of the blood cell count studies in different articles, the standardization of blood cell classification is necessary. In this study, erythrocytes (red blood cell, RBC), thrombocytes (TC) and leucocytes (i.e. white blood cells, WBC, including lymphocytes, neutrophils and monocytes) were well distinguished in blood smears with Giemsa staining and confirmed by transmission electron microscopy. RBC, TC and WBC were directly counted with an improved Neubauer counting chamber in a modified diluting solution. The differential leucocyte count (DLC) was carried out in blood smears. In view of the labeling characteristics of peroxidase (PO) positivity in neutrophils and non-specific esterase (α-ANAE) positivity in monocytes, PO positive cell percentage and α-ANAE positive cell percentage were also determined in cytochemistry staining smears. No difference was found for the percentages of neutrophils and monocytes between Giemsa staining and cytochemistry staining. The standardized classification, normal count ranges and sizes of the peripheral blood cells by the present systemic studies will provide useful references for monitoring the health status of grass carp, blunt snout bream and yellow catfish.