Skeletal Anomalies in Senegalese Sole (Solea senegalensis), an Anosteocytic Boned Flatfish Species.
Skeletal anomalies affect animal welfare and cause important economic problems in aquaculture. Despite the high frequency of skeletal problems in reared Solea senegalensis, there is lack of information regarding the histological features of normal and deformed vertebrae in this flatfish. The aim of this study was to describe the histopathological and radiographical appearance of vertebral body anomalies. Sixty-seven juvenile fish were radiographically examined 104 or 105 days after hatching. Through radiographic images, vertebral segments were selected and processed for histopathological examination from 7 normal and 7 affected fish. Alterations in bone shape and vertebral fusion were the most significant anomalies in the vertebral bodies. These alterations occurred most frequently between the last 3 abdominal vertebrae and the first 10 caudal centra. Radiographically, deformed vertebrae showed flattening of the endplates and narrowing of the intervertebral spaces. The radiographic findings concurred with the histological lesions where affected vertebrae exhibited irregular endplates and changes in trabecular bone. Radiolucent cartilaginous tissue was evident in the endplates of the deformed vertebra and, in some cases, the cartilaginous material extended from the growth zone into the intervertebral space. These changes were likely the primary alterations that led to vertebral fusion. Fused vertebrae were often reshaped and showed a reorganization of the trabeculae. The formation of metaplastic cartilage is frequent in a variety of anomalies affecting teleost species.