A comparative study of Enterocytozoon hepatopenaei (EHP) challenge methods in Penaeus vannamei

Hung Nam Mai, Roberto Cruz-Flores, Luis Fernando Aranguren Caro, Brenda Noble White, Arun K. Dhar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The microsporidium Enterocytozoon hepatopenaei (EHP) is considered as an emerging pathogen threating the shrimp industry worldwide. It is an intracellular parasite that has been associated with retarded growth syndrome and white feces syndrome in shrimp. Although the impact of EHP to the shrimp industry is well known, many aspects of host-pathogen interactions are not well understood. A major limitation in the study of EHP is the lack of a reliable method to produce large quantities of inoculum rapidly and reproducibly. The present study was designed to compare different challenge methods including intramuscular injection, oral administration, co-habitation, hepatopancreas (HP) injection and reverse gavage. The results showed that the HP injection and the reverse gavage are two promising methods to infect shrimp rapidly and generate inoculum in a reproducible manner starting with a limited amount of inoculum. Therefore, the HP injection and reverse gavage were chosen for a scale-up study. Histopathology results showed that EHP proliferated in the epithelial cells of the HP in shrimp challenged via direct injection of inoculum into HP and reverse gavage treatments. In accordance with the histopathology results, the qPCR data showed that EHP loads in the challenged shrimp increased significantly with the HP injection and reverse gavage methods. Furthermore, the histopathological and quantification results indicate that HP injection and reverse gavage are two novel methods that can be used in EHP-challenge studies and for rapidly generating viable EHP inoculum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107336
JournalJournal of Invertebrate Pathology
StatePublished - Mar 2020


  • Bioassay
  • Co-habitation
  • EHP
  • Enterocytozoon hepatopenaei
  • Hepatopancreas
  • Reverse gavage
  • Shrimp

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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