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NC3Rs: National Centre for the Replacement Refinement & Reduction of Animals in Research
Pilot study grant

Novel approaches to immortalise salmon fish cells

Dr Bertrand Collet in a laboratory

At a glance

Award date
December 2013 - February 2015
Grant amount
Principal investigator
Dr Bertrand Collet


Marine Scotland Science


  • Replacement
Read the abstract
View the grant profile on GtR




This research aims to produce cell lines of many different salmon cell types for use in experiments to understand how viruses cause disease and might be diagnosed or treated, replacing the use of in vivo fish experiments.


With the growth of the fish farming industry, more studies are carried out to understand how disease affects fish in order to find ways to combat them and protect fish welfare and stocks. Such studies are often carried out using groups of live fish experimentally infected in contained aquarium facilities and the effects monitored. Fish cell lines can be used in place of some in vivo experimentation. However, since viruses often cause disease by infecting specific cell types, if these cell types are not available then in vivo experimentation is the only option.

Research details and methods

Primary cells will be dissociated from gill, heart, kidney and spleen dissected from juvenile Atlantic salmon using procedure optimised to maintain cell type diversity. They will be transfected with a panel of plasmids expressing immortalisation factors to become either transiently or permanently immortalised for growth in culture. Green fluorescent protein (GFP) will be incorporated into the plasmid to specifically monitor the growth of the resulting cell lines and allow for isolation and cloning.