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1.  Johne’s disease in Canada: Part I: Clinical symptoms, pathophysiology, diagnosis, and prevalence in dairy herds 
The Canadian Veterinary Journal  2006;47(9):874-882.
Recent international developments in the area of infectious disease control and nontariff trade barriers, along with possible zoonotic concerns, have provoked a revival of interest in Johne’s disease in Canada and elsewhere. The bacterium causing Johne’s disease, Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis, is distributed worldwide and causes chronic granulomatous enteritis, also known as paratuberculosis, in domestic and exotic ruminants, including cattle. The subclinical form of this disease results in progressive weight loss, reduced milk production, lower slaughter value, and premature culling, with possible impacts on fertility and udder health. Eventually, infection can lead to the clinical form that manifests as chronic diarrhea, emaciation, debilitation, and eventual death. Currently, available tests to detect infected animals produce many false-negative results and some false-positives, particularly in subclinically infected animals, thus making their interpretation and utilization challenging in control programs.
The objective of this 2-part review is to critically review the literature about Johne’s disease in dairy cattle for bovine practitioners in Canada. Part I covers the clinical stages, pathophysiology, diagnosis, and prevalence of infection in Canada, while Part II discusses impacts, risk factors, and control programs relevant to Canadian dairy farms. By reviewing the scientific literature about Johne’s disease, control of the disease could be pursued through informed implementation of rational biosecurity efforts and the strategic use of testing and culling.
PMCID: PMC1555680  PMID: 17017652
2.  A Novel Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay for Diagnosis of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis Infections (Johne's Disease) in Cattle 
Clinical and Vaccine Immunology  2006;13(5):535-540.
Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) for the diagnosis of Johne's disease (JD), caused by Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis, were developed using whole bacilli treated with formaldehyde (called WELISA) or surface antigens obtained by treatment of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis bacilli with formaldehyde and then brief sonication (called SELISA). ELISA plates were coated with either whole bacilli or sonicated antigens and tested for reactivity against serum obtained from JD-positive and JD-negative cattle or from calves experimentally inoculated with M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis, Mycobacterium avium subsp. avium, or Mycobacterium bovis. Because the initial results obtained from the WELISA and SELISA were similar, most of the subsequent experiments reported herein were performed using the SELISA method. To optimize the SELISA test, various concentrations (3.7 to 37%) of formaldehyde and intervals of sonication (2 to 300 s) were tested. With an increase in formaldehyde concentration and a decreased interval of sonication, there was a concomitant decrease in nonspecific binding by the SELISA. SELISAs prepared by treating M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis with 37% formaldehyde and then a 2-s burst of sonication produced the greatest difference (7×) between M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis-negative and M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis-positive serum samples. The diagnostic sensitivity and specificity for JD by the SELISA were greater than 95%. The SELISA showed subspecies-specific detection of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis infections in calves experimentally inoculated with M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis or other mycobacteria. Based on diagnostic sensitivity and specificity, the SELISA appears superior to the commercial ELISAs routinely used for the diagnosis of JD.
PMCID: PMC1459654  PMID: 16682472
3.  Diverse Cytokine Profile from Mesenteric Lymph Node Cells of Cull Cows Severely Affected with Johne's Disease▿ 
Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis, the causative agent of Johne's disease, is able to dampen or distort immune responses at the mucosal sites and coexist with a massive infiltration of immune cells in the gastrointestinal tract. Knowledge of the mechanism by which M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis subverts the immune response at the mucosal level in cattle is important for the development of improved disease control strategies, including new vaccines and diagnostic tests. In this study, 38 cull cows from herds infected with M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis were divided into four groups, based on M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis culture from gut tissues and histopathological lesion scores. Cytokine gene expression and secretion from M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis sonicate-stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) and mesenteric lymph node (MLN) cultures of the animals were compared. Antigen stimulation of MLN cells from the severely lesioned group resulted in significant upregulation of the mRNA expression of five cytokines, gamma interferon (IFN-γ), interleukin-10 (IL-10), IL-13, IL-17A, and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), which have a diverse range of functions, while there was no significant upregulation of these cytokines by the other groups. There were major differences between the responses of the PBMC and MLN cultures, with higher levels of secreted IFN-γ released from the MLN cultures and, conversely, higher levels of IL-10 released from the PBMC cultures. The upregulation of all five cytokines from cells at the site of infection in the severely lesioned animals suggested a dysregulated immune response, contributing to a failure to clear infection in this group of animals.
PMCID: PMC3165227  PMID: 21795461
4.  Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis Antibody Response, Fecal Shedding, and Antibody Cross-Reactivity to Mycobacterium bovis in M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis-Infected Cattle Herds Vaccinated against Johne's Disease 
Vaccination for Johne's disease with killed inactivated vaccine in cattle herds has shown variable success. The vaccine delays the onset of disease but does not afford complete protection. Johne's disease vaccination has also been reported to interfere with measurements of cell-mediated immune responses for the detection of bovine tuberculosis. Temporal antibody responses and fecal shedding of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis, the causative agent of Johne's disease, were measured in 2 dairy cattle herds using Johne's disease vaccine (Mycopar) over a period of 7 years. Vaccination against Johne's disease resulted in positive serum M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis antibody responses in both herds, and the responses persisted in vaccinated cattle up to 7 years of age. Some vaccinated animals (29.4% in herd A and 36.2% in herd B) showed no serological reactivity to M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis. M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis-specific antibody responses were also detected in milk from Johne's disease-vaccinated animals, but fewer animals (39.3% in herd A and 49.4% in herd B) had positive results with milk than with serum samples. With vaccination against M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis, fecal shedding in both dairy herds was reduced significantly (P < 0.001). In addition, when selected Johne's disease-vaccinated and -infected animals were investigated for serological cross-reactivity to Mycobacterium bovis, no cross-reactivity was observed.
PMCID: PMC4018888  PMID: 24623626
5.  Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis Inhibits Gamma Interferon-Induced Signaling in Bovine Monocytes: Insights into the Cellular Mechanisms of Johne's Disease 
Infection and Immunity  2012;80(9):3039-3048.
Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis is the causative agent of Johne's disease in cattle and may have implications for human health. Establishment of chronic infection by M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis depends on its subversion of host immune responses. This includes blocking the ability of infected macrophages to be activated by gamma interferon (IFN-γ) for clearance of this intracellular pathogen. To define the mechanism by which M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis subverts this critical host cell function, patterns of signal transduction to IFN-γ stimulation of uninfected and M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis-infected bovine monocytes were determined through bovine-specific peptide arrays for kinome analysis. Pathway analysis of the kinome data indicated activation of the JAK-STAT pathway, a hallmark of IFN-γ signaling, in uninfected monocytes. In contrast, IFN-γ stimulation of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis-infected monocytes failed to induce patterns of peptide phosphorylation consistent with JAK-STAT activation. The inability of IFN-γ to induce differential phosphorylation of peptides corresponding to early JAK-STAT intermediates in infected monocytes indicates that M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis blocks responsiveness at, or near, the IFN-γ receptor. Consistent with this hypothesis, increased expression of negative regulators of the IFN-γ receptors SOCS1 and SOCS3 as well as decreased expression of IFN-γ receptor chains 1 and 2 is observed in M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis-infected monocytes. These patterns of expression are functionally consistent with the kinome data and offer a mechanistic explanation for this critical M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis behavior. Understanding this mechanism may contribute to the rational design of more effective vaccines and/or therapeutics for Johne's disease.
PMCID: PMC3418731  PMID: 22689821
6.  Characterization of Novel Coding Sequences Specific to Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis: Implications for Diagnosis of Johne's Disease 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2004;42(6):2675-2681.
Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis is the causative agent of Johne's Disease, an economically important intestinal ailment of ruminants. Due to the considerable genetic and serologic cross-reactivity with closely related and ubiquitous members of the M. avium complex, a species-specific method for the serological diagnosis of Johne's disease is unavailable. Computational and PCR-based analysis of the complete genome sequence of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis led to the identification of 13 open reading frames with no identifiable homologs. One of these sequences is a putative insertion element present in six copies on the M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis genome. These novel M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis genes were cloned into Escherichia coli expression vectors, and nine were successfully expressed as recombinant fusion proteins. Five of these proteins were purified in sufficient amounts to allow immunoblot analyses of their reactivity with sera from naturally infected cattle as well as mice and rabbits exposed to M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis. Fusion proteins representing MAP0862, MAP3732c, and MAP2963c were recognized by nearly all of the sera tested, including those from cattle in the clinical stages of disease. Notably, further analysis of the protein encoded by MAP0862 showed that it reacted with sera from additional infected cattle but not with sera from uninfected control animals. The fusion product of MAP0860c did not react with any of the sera tested, while the remaining four proteins were variably recognized by sera from M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis-infected cattle. Collectively, the results of this study demonstrate the utility of genomic data to identify potential diagnostic sequences.
PMCID: PMC427819  PMID: 15184451
7.  Agent-based model for Johne’s disease dynamics in a dairy herd 
Veterinary Research  2015;46(1):68.
Johne’s disease is an infectious gastrointestinal disease in ruminants caused by Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis that causes diarrhea, emaciation, decreased milk production and eventually death. The disease is transmitted in utero and via milk and colostrums to calves, and fecal-orally to all age classes. Financial losses due to the disease are estimated to be over $200 million in the US dairy industry. The goal of this study was to evaluate the cost effectiveness of control measures based on diagnosis with a sensitive ELISA, EVELISA. An agent-based, discrete time model was developed to simulate Johne’s disease dynamics in a US dairy herd. Spatial aspects of disease transmission were taken into account by using six spatial compartments. The effects on disease prevalence were studied with and without transmission routes included in the model. Further, using the model, cost effectiveness of ELISA-based Johne’s disease control was evaluated. Using the parameters we collected and assumed, our model showed the initial prevalence of Johne’s disease (33.1 ± 0.2%) in the farm increased to 87.7 ± 1.7% in a 10 year-simulation. When ELISA-based control measures were included in the simulation, the increase in prevalence was significantly slowed down, especially when EVELISA was used. However, the level of the prevalence was still higher than the initial level after 10 year simulation even with the ELISA-based diagnostic intervention. The prevalence was further reduced when quarterly ELISA testing was included. The cost analysis showed that the quarterly ELISA and EVELISA testing could bring $44.8 and $51.5/animal/year more revenues, respectively, to a dairy farm.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13567-015-0195-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4474466  PMID: 26091904
8.  Invasion and Persistence of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis during Early Stages of Johne's Disease in Calves▿  
Infection and Immunity  2007;75(5):2110-2119.
Infection with Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis causes Johne's disease in cattle and is a serious problem for the dairy industry worldwide. Development of models to mimic aspects of Johne's disease remains an elusive goal because of the chronic nature of the disease. In this report, we describe a surgical approach employed to characterize the very early stages of infection of calves with M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis. To our surprise, strains of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis were able to traverse the intestinal tissues within 1 h of infection in order to colonize distant organs, such as the liver and lymph nodes. Both the ileum and the mesenteric lymph nodes were persistently infected for months following intestinal deposition of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis despite a lack of fecal shedding of mycobacteria. During the first 9 months of infection, humoral immune responses were not detected. Nonetheless, using flow cytometric analysis, we detected a significant change in the cells participating in the inflammatory responses of infected calves compared to cells in a control animal. Additionally, the levels of cytokines detected in both the ileum and the lymph nodes indicated that there were TH1-type-associated cellular responses but not TH2-type-associated humoral responses. Finally, surgical inoculation of a wild-type strain and a mutant M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis strain (with an inactivated gcpE gene) demonstrated the ability of the model which we developed to differentiate between the wild-type strain and a mutant strain of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis deficient in tissue colonization and invasion. Overall, novel insights into the early stages of Johne's disease were obtained, and a practical model of mycobacterial invasiveness was developed. A similar approach can be used for other enteric bacteria.
PMCID: PMC1865790  PMID: 17296749
9.  Novel Secreted Antigens of Mycobacterium paratuberculosis as Serodiagnostic Biomarkers for Johne's Disease in Cattle 
Clinical and Vaccine Immunology : CVI  2013;20(12):1783-1791.
Johne's disease is a chronic gastroenteritis of cattle caused by Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis that afflicts 40% of dairy herds worldwide. M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis-infected cattle can remain asymptomatic for years while transmitting the pathogen via fecal contamination and milk. Current serodiagnosis with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) fails to detect asymptomatic M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis-infected cattle due to the use of poorly defined antigens and knowledge gaps in our understanding of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis components eliciting pathogen-specific immune responses. We set out to (i) define a subset of proteins that contain putative antigenic targets and (ii) screen these antigen pools for immunogens relevant in detecting infection. To accomplish our first objective, we captured and resolved M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis-secreted proteins using a 2-step fractionation method and reverse-phase liquid chromatography to identify 162 unique proteins, of which 66 had not been previously observed in M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis culture filtrates. Subsequent screening of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis-secreted proteins showed four antigens, of which one or more reacted on immunoblotting with individual serum samples from 35 M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis-infected cows. Moreover, these novel antigens reacted with sera from 6 low M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis shedders and 3 fecal-culture-positive cows labeled as ELISA seronegative. The specificity of these antigens was demonstrated using negative-control sera from uninfected calves (n = 5) and uninfected cows (n = 5), which did not react to any of these antigens in immunoblotting. As three of the four antigens are novel, their characterization and incorporation into an ELISA-based format will aid in detecting asymptomatic cattle in early or subclinical stages of disease.
PMCID: PMC3889510  PMID: 24089453
10.  A Potential ‘Curative’ Modality for Crohn’s Disease---Modeled after Prophylaxis of Bovine Johne’s Disease 
A naturally occurring, gastrointestinal disorder of ruminants (Johne’s disease) is a chronic, debilitating, lethal disease. The causative agent is Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP). Exposure that leads to disease occurs primarily in utero and/or during the neonatal period. Outside a dietzia probiotic treatment, there are no preventive/curative therapies. Interestingly, MAP is at the center of a controversy as to its role (cause of, perpetuate of, innocent bystander) in Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, sarcoidosis, Blau syndrome, and multiple sclerosis—diseases in which the incidence of systemic MAP is higher than that in the general population. Conventional therapeutic modalities, including biologic agents, for the majority of these diseases are, in general, directed at curtailing processes that are an intricate part of inflammation, with goals to induce and maintain remission. Most possess side effects of varying severity, lose therapeutic value, and more importantly, few are directed at prevention, attainment of long lasting remissions or cures, and essential none at reduction/elimination of MAP.
This report presents a rationale for how/why Dietzia subsp. C79793-74 should be clinically evaluated for efficacy in patients with IBD. Arguments are based on previous studies that demonstrated (a) clinical similarities of Johne’s disease and Crohn’s disease, (b) inhibition of growth of MAP by Dietzia under specific culture conditions, (c) safe usage for extended daily treatments of adult cattle (up to 24 months), and (d) when used as a probiotic, curtailed diarrhea and cured 40% of adult cattle with early stage paratuberculosis.
PMCID: PMC3909502  PMID: 24494172
Bovine Johne’s disease; Dietzia probiotic; Mycobacterium avium; MAP; Diabetes; Multiple sclerosis; IBS; Ulcerative colitis; Crohn’s disease; Diarrhea; Therapy
11.  Evaluation of two mutants of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis as candidates for a live attenuated vaccine for Johne’s disease 
Vaccine  2011;29(29-30):4709-4719.
Control of Johne’s disease, caused by Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis, has been difficult because of a lack of an effective vaccine. To address this problem we used targeted gene disruption to develop candidate mutants with impaired capacity to survive ex vivo and in vivo to test as a vaccine. We selected relA and pknG, genes known to be important virulence factors in Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium bovis, for initial studies. Deletion mutants were made in a wild type Map (K10) and its recombinant strain expressing the green fluorescent protein (K10-GFP). Comparison of survival in an ex vivo assay revealed deletion of either gene attenuated survival in monocyte-derived macrophages compared to survival of wild-type K10. In contrast, study in calves revealed survival in vivo was mainly affected by deletion of relA. Bacteria were detected in tissues from wild-type and the pknG mutant infected calves by bacterial culture and PCR at three months post infection. No bacteria were detected in tissues from calves infected with the relA mutant (P < 0.05). Flow cytometric analysis of the immune response to the wild-type K10-GFP and the mutant strains showed deletion of either gene did not affect their capacity to elicit a strong proliferative response to soluble antigen extract or live Map. Quantitative RT-PCR revealed genes encoding IFN-γ, IL-17, IL-22, T-bet, RORC, and granulysin were up-regulated in PBMC stimulated with live Map three months post infection compared to the response of PBMC pre-infection. A challenge study in kid goats showed deletion of pknG did not interfere with establishment of an infection. As in calves, deletion of relA attenuated survival in vivo. The mutant also elicited an immune response that limited colonization by challenge wild type Map. The findings show the relA mutant is a good candidate for development of a live attenuated vaccine for Johne’s disease.
PMCID: PMC3114198  PMID: 21565243
Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis; Johne’s disease; paratuberculosis; Crohn’s disease; live vaccine
12.  Isolation of High-Affinity Single-Chain Antibodies against Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis Surface Proteins from Sheep with Johne's Disease 
Clinical and Vaccine Immunology  2006;13(9):1022-1029.
Johne's disease, caused by infection with Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis, causes significant economic losses to the livestock farming industry. Improved investigative and diagnostic tools—necessary to understand disease processes and to identify subclinical infection—are much sought after. Here, we describe the production of single-chain antibodies with defined specificity for M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis surface proteins. Single-chain antibodies (scFv) were generated from sheep with Johne's disease by cloning heavy-chain and lambda light-chain variable regions and expressing these in fusion with gene III of filamentous phages. Two scFv clones (designated SurfS1.2 and SurfS2.2) were shown to be immunoreactive against M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis surface targets by flow cytometry, and immunoblotting identified specificity for a 34-kDa proteinase-susceptible determinant. Both antibodies were cross-reactive against Mycobacterium avium subsp. avium but nonreactive against Mycobacterium bovis or Mycobacterium phlei cells and were shown to be capable of enriching M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis cells by a factor of approximately 106-fold when employed in magnetic bead separation of mixed Mycobacterium sp. cultures. Further, magnetic bead separation using SurfS1.2 and SurfS2.2 was capable of isolating as few as 103 M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis cells from ovine fecal samples, indicating the diagnostic potential of these reagents. Finally, inclusion of SurfS1.2 or SurfS2.2 in in vitro broth culture with M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis indicated that surface binding activity did not impede bacterial growth, although colony clumping was prevented. These results are discussed in terms of the potential use of single-chain phage display monoclonal antibodies as novel diagnostic reagents.
PMCID: PMC1563570  PMID: 16960114
13.  Experimental Infection Model for Johne's Disease in Sheep  
Infection and Immunity  2005;73(9):5603-5611.
Johne's disease in ruminants results in chronic enteritis caused by the pathogenic bacterium Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis. This study examined two M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis strains (JD3 and W), using different doses and routes of infection, to establish the optimal time postchallenge when predictable levels of infection, gut lesions, and clinical disease occur in a large proportion of sheep. While a small proportion (25%) of sheep challenged with a low-passage-number laboratory culture of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis (strain W) became infected, no infection was found in animals exposed to a high-passage-number culture isolate of strain W. In contrast, a primary tissue homogenate of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis (JD3) resulted in high (90%) infection rates and gut histopathology following oral or intratonsillar challenge. The optimal conditions necessary to produce Johne's disease involve oral inoculation of 3-month-old lambs with four doses of 5 × 108 CFU of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis isolated directly from the gut lymphatic tissues of clinically affected sheep. This resulted in consistent gut histopathology at 9 months and the onset of clinical disease by 11 months postchallenge.
PMCID: PMC1231139  PMID: 16113277
14.  A Highly Sensitive and Subspecies-Specific Surface Antigen Enzyme- Linked Immunosorbent Assay for Diagnosis of Johne's Disease 
Clinical and Vaccine Immunology  2006;13(8):837-844.
Johne's disease (JD), or paratuberculosis, caused by Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis, is one of the most widespread and economically important diseases of livestock and wild ruminants worldwide. Control of JD could be accomplished by diagnosis and good animal husbandry, but this is currently not feasible because commercially available diagnostic tests have low sensitivity levels and are incapable of diagnosing prepatent infections. In this study, a highly sensitive and subspecies-specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was developed for the diagnosis of JD by using antigens extracted from the surface of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis. Nine different chemicals and various intervals of agitation by vortex were evaluated for their ability to extract the surface antigens. Various quantities of surface antigens per well in a 96-well microtiter plate were also tested. The greatest differences in distinguishing between JD-positive and JD-negative serum samples by ethanol vortex enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (EVELISA) were obtained with surface antigens dislodged from 50 μg/well of bacilli treated with 80% ethanol followed by a 30-second interval of agitation by vortex. The diagnostic specificity and sensitivity of the EVELISA were 97.4% and 100%, respectively. EVELISA plates that had been vacuum-sealed and then tested 7 weeks later (the longest interval tested) had diagnostic specificity and sensitivity rates of 96.9 and 100%, respectively. In a comparative study involving serum samples from 64 fecal culture-positive cattle, the EVELISA identified 96.6% of the low-level fecal shedders and 100% of the midlevel and high-level shedders, whereas the Biocor ELISA detected 13.7% of the low-level shedders, 25% of the mid-level shedders, and 96.2% of the high-level shedders. Thus, the EVELISA was substantially superior to the Biocor ELISA, especially in detecting low-level and midlevel shedders. The EVELISA may form the basis for a highly sensitive and subspecies-specific test for the diagnosis of JD.
PMCID: PMC1539126  PMID: 16893982
15.  Johne’s disease in Canada Part II: Disease impacts, risk factors, and control programs for dairy producers 
The Canadian Veterinary Journal  2006;47(11):1089-1099.
Part I of this 2-part review examined the clinical stages, pathophysiology, diagnosis, and epidemiology of Johne’s disease, providing information relevant to Canada, where available. In Part II, a critical review of the economic impacts of the disease, risk factors, and important control measures are presented to enable Canadian bovine practitioners to successfully implement control strategies and participate in control programs. In cattle positive by enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay, there is a 2.4 times increase in the risk of their being culled, and their lactational 305-day milk production is decreased by at least 370 kg. Reduced slaughter value and premature culling account for losses of CDN$1330 per year per infected 50-cow herd. Research has failed to show a consistent association between Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis test status and reduced fertility or risk of clinical or subclinical mastitis. Host level factors include age and level of exposure, along with source of exposure, such as manure, colostrum, or milk. Agent factors involve the dose of infectious agent and strains of bacteria. Environmental management factors influence the persistence of the bacteria and the level of contamination in the environment. Emphasizing a risk factor approach, various control strategies are reviewed, including a number of national control programs currently in place throughout the world, specifically Australia, The Netherlands, and the United States. By reviewing the scientific literature about Johne’s disease, control of the disease could be pursued through informed implementation of rational biosecurity efforts and the strategic use of testing and culling.
PMCID: PMC1624920  PMID: 17147140
16.  Innate immune markers that distinguish red deer (Cervus elaphus) selected for resistant or susceptible genotypes for Johne’s disease 
Veterinary Research  2013;44(1):5.
While many factors contribute to resistance and susceptibility to infectious disease, a major component is the genotype of the host and the way in which it is expressed. Johne’s disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease affecting ruminants and is caused by infection with Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP). We have previously identified red deer breeds (Cervus elaphus) that are resistant; have a low rate of MAP infection and do not progress to develop Johne’s disease. In contrast, susceptible breeds have a high rate of MAP infection as seen by seroconversion and progress to develop clinical Johne’s disease. The aim of this study was to determine if immunological differences exist between animals of resistant or susceptible breeds. Macrophage cultures were derived from the monocytes of deer genotypically defined as resistant or susceptible to the development of Johne’s disease. Following in vitro infection of the cells with MAP, the expression of candidate genes was assessed by quantitative PCR as well as infection rate and cell death rate. The results indicate that macrophages from susceptible animals show a significantly higher upregulation of inflammatory genes (iNOS, IL-1α, TNF-α and IL-23p19) than the macrophages from resistant animals. Cells from resistant animals had a higher rate of apoptosis at 24 hours post infection (hpi) compared to macrophages from susceptible animals. The excessive expression of inflammatory mRNA transcripts in susceptible animals could cause inefficient clearing of the mycobacterial organism and the establishment of disease. Controlled upregulation of inflammatory pathways coupled with programmed cell death in the macrophages of resistant animals may predispose the host to a protective immune response against this mycobacterial pathogen.
PMCID: PMC3574005  PMID: 23347398
17.  Successful treatment of asymptomatic or clinically terminal bovine Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis infection (Johne disease) with the bacterium Dietzia used as a probiotic alone or in combination with dexamethasone 
Virulence  2011;2(2):131-143.
A naturally occurring gastrointestinal disease, primarily of ruminants (Johne disease), is a chronic debilitating disease that is caused by Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP). MAP infection occurs primarily in utero and in newborns. Outside our Dietzia probiotic treatment, there are no preventive/curative therapies for bovine paratuberculosis. Interestingly, MAP is at the center of controversy as to its role in (cause of) Crohn disease (CD) and more recently, its role in diabetes, ulcerative colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS); the latter two, like CD, are considered to be a result of chronic intestinal inflammation. Treatments, both conventional and biologic agents, which induce and maintain remission are directed at curtailing processes that are an intricate part of inflammation. Most possess side effects of varying severity, lose therapeutic value, and more importantly, none routinely result in prevention and/or cures. Based on (a) similarities of Johne disease and Crohn disease, (b) a report that Dietzia inhibited growth of MAP under specific culture conditions, and (c) findings that Dietzia when used as a probiotic, (i) was therapeutic for adult bovine paratuberculosis, and (ii) prevented development of disease in MAP-infected calves, the goal of the present investigations was to design protocols that have applicability for IBD patients. Dietzia was found safe for cattle of all ages and for normal and immunodeficient mice. The results strongly warrant clinical evaluation as a probiotic, in combination with/without dexamethasone.
PMCID: PMC3265756  PMID: 21460639
Bovine Johne disease; Dietzia probiotic; Mycobacterium avium subsp. Paratuberculosis (MAP); idiopathic inflammatory bowel diseases (IIBD); ulcerative colitis; Crohn; diarrhea; therapy
18.  An immuno-epidemiological model for Johne’s disease in cattle 
Veterinary Research  2015;46(1):69.
To better understand the mechanisms involved in the dynamics of Johne’s disease in dairy cattle, this paper illustrates a novel way to link a within-host model for Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis with an epidemiological model. The underlying variable in the within-host model is the time since infection. Two compartments, infected macrophages and T cells, of the within-host model feed into the epidemiological model through the direct transmission rate, disease-induced mortality rate, the vertical transmission rate, and the shedding of MAP into the environment. The epidemiological reproduction number depends on the within-host bacteria load in a complex way, exhibiting multiple peaks. A possible mechanism to account for the switch in shedding patterns of the bacteria in this disease is included in the within-host model, and its effect can be seen in the epidemiological reproduction model.
PMCID: PMC4474574  PMID: 26091672
19.  Characterization of a specific Mycobacterium paratuberculosis recombinant clone expressing 35,000-molecular-weight antigen and reactivity with sera from animals with clinical and subclinical Johne's disease. 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  1997;35(7):1794-1799.
Johne's disease is a chronic enteritis of ruminants associated with enormous worldwide economic losses for the dairy cow- and goat-rearing industries. Management limitations and eradication programs for this disease have been hampered by the lack of a simple and specific diagnostic test for the detection of subclinical cases. We used a recombinant clone expressing a 35,000-molecular-weight Mycobacterium paratuberculosis antigen (p35 antigen) from a previously constructed expression library of M. paratuberculosis in Escherichia coli. The DNA fragment encoding the p35 gene hybridized only to DNA from Mycobacterium avium complex, but not to DNAs from other mycobacteria and nonmycobacterial organisms. The seroreactivity of p35 was evaluated by immunoblotting against 57 reference serum samples obtained from infected and uninfected animals. p35 was recognized by sera from 100% of animals with advanced Johne's disease (clinical stage) (12 cattle, 2 goats, and 2 sheep) and by sera from 75% of 20 cattle with early infection (subclinical stage). None of the sera from 15 M. paratuberculosis-free cows, 3 Mycobacterium bovis BCG-infected tuberculous cattle, or 3 cows artificially inoculated with multiple doses of viable M. paratuberculosis reacted with p35. The overall sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value were 86, 100, 100, and 75%, respectively. The accuracy of p35 immunoblotting was superior to those of commercially available diagnostic tests for Johne's disease. These results suggest that the p35 recombinant protein has potential for use in the serodiagnosis of animals with Johne's disease at all stages of infection. The DNA fragment encoding p35 may also serve as a probe for identification of M. avium complex infection.
PMCID: PMC229844  PMID: 9196196
20.  Genome-Wide Sequence Variation among Mycobacterium avium Subspecies paratuberculosis Isolates: A Better Understanding of Johne’s Disease Transmission Dynamics 
Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (M. ap), the causative agent of Johne’s disease, infects many farmed ruminants, wild-life animals, and recently isolated from humans. To better understand the molecular pathogenesis of these infections, we analyzed the whole-genome sequences of several M. ap and M. avium subspecies avium (M. avium) isolates to gain insights into genomic diversity associated with variable hosts and environments. Using Next-generation sequencing technology, all six M. ap isolates showed a high percentage of similarity (98%) to the reference genome sequence of M. ap K-10 isolated from cattle. However, two M. avium isolates (DT 78 and Env 77) showed significant sequence diversity (only 87 and 40% similarity, respectively) compared to the reference strain M. avium 104, a reflection of the wide environmental niches of this group of mycobacteria. Within the M. ap isolates, genomic rearrangements (insertions/deletions) were not detected, and only unique single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were observed among M. ap isolates. While more of the SNPs (~100) in M. ap genomes were non-synonymous, a total of ~6,000 SNPs were detected among M. avium genomes, most of them were synonymous suggesting a differential selective pressure between M. ap and M. avium isolates. In addition, SNPs-based phylo-genomics had a enough discriminatory power to differentiate between isolates from different hosts but yet suggesting a bovine source of infection to other animals examined in this study. Interestingly, the human isolate (M. ap 4B) was closely related to a M. ap isolate from a dairy facility, suggesting a common source of infection. Overall, the identified phylo-genomes further supported the idea of a common ancestor to both M. ap and M. avium isolates. Genome-wide analysis described here could provide a strong foundation for a population genetic structure that could be useful for the analysis of mycobacterial evolution and for the tracking of Johne’s disease transmission among animals.
PMCID: PMC3234532  PMID: 22163226
Mycobacteria; paratuberculosis; Johne’s disease; whole-genome sequencing; genomics; pathogenesis
21.  Cytokine Gene Expression in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells and Tissues of Cattle Infected with Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis: Evidence for an Inherent Proinflammatory Gene Expression Pattern  
Infection and Immunity  2004;72(3):1409-1422.
In cattle and other ruminants, infection with the intracellular pathogen Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis results in a granulomatous enteritis (Johne's disease) that is often fatal. The key features of host immunity to M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis infection include an appropriate early proinflammatory and cytotoxic response (Th1-like) that eventually gives way to a predominant antibody-based response (Th2-like). Clinical disease symptoms often appear subsequent to waning of the Th1-like immune response. Understanding why this shift in the immune response occurs and the underlying molecular mechanisms involved is critical to future control measures and diagnosis. Previous studies have suggested that M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis may suppress gene expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from infected cows, despite a continued inflammatory reaction at sites of infection. In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that exposure to M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis suppresses a proinflammatory gene expression pattern in PBMCs from infected cows. To do this, we examined expression of genes encoding interleukin-1α (IL-1α), IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-12p35, IL-16, and IL-18, as well as genes encoding gamma interferon (IFN-γ), transforming growth factor β (TGF-β), and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), in PBMCs, intestinal lesions, and mesenteric lymph nodes of cattle naturally infected with M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis. Cytokine gene expression in these cells and tissues was compared to expression in similar cells and tissues from control uninfected cattle. Our comprehensive results demonstrate that for most cytokine genes, including the genes encoding IFN-γ, TGF-β, TNF-α, IL-1α, IL-4, IL-6, IL-8, and IL-12p35, differential expression in PBMCs from infected and control cattle did not require stimulation with M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis. In fact, stimulation with M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis tended to reduce the differential expression observed in infected and uninfected cows for genes encoding IFN-γ, IL-1α, and IL-6. Only IL-10 gene expression was consistently enhanced by M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis stimulation of PBMCs from subclinically infected cattle. In ileal tissues from M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis-infected cattle, expression of the genes encoding IFN-γ, TGF-β, IL-5, and IL-8 was greater than the expression in comparable tissues from control uninfected cattle, while expression of the gene encoding IL-16 was lower in tissues from infected cattle than in control tissues. Mesenteric lymph nodes draining sites of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis infection expressed higher levels of IL-1α, IL-8, IL-2, and IL-10 mRNA than similar tissues from control uninfected cattle expressed. In contrast, the genes encoding TGF-β and IL-16 were expressed at lower levels in lymph nodes from infected cattle than in tissues from uninfected cattle. Taken together, our results suggest that cells or other mechanisms capable of limiting proinflammatory responses to M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis develop in infected cattle and that a likely place for development and expansion of these cell populations is the mesenteric lymph nodes draining sites of infection.
PMCID: PMC356024  PMID: 14977946
22.  Members of the 30- to 32-Kilodalton Mycolyl Transferase Family (Ag85) from Culture Filtrate of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis Are Immunodominant Th1-Type Antigens Recognized Early upon Infection in Mice and Cattle  
Infection and Immunity  2006;74(1):202-212.
The characterization of protective antigens is essential for the development of an effective, subunit-based vaccine against paratuberculosis. Surface-exposed and secreted antigens, present abundantly in mycobacterial culture filtrate (CF), are among the well-known protective antigens of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium bovis. Culture filtrate, prepared from Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis ATCC 19698 grown as a surface pellicle on synthetic Sauton medium, was strongly and early recognized in experimentally infected B6 bg/bg beige mice and cattle, as indicated by elevated spleen cell gamma interferon (IFN-γ) secretion and lymphoproliferative responses of peripheral blood mononuclear cells, respectively. Strong proliferative and ex vivo IFN-γ responses against antigen 85 (Ag85) complex (a major protein component from M. bovis BCG culture filtrate) could be detected in cattle as early as 10 weeks after oral M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis infection. Synthetic peptides from the Ag85A and Ag85B components of this complex were strongly recognized, whereas T-cell responses were weaker against peptides from the Ag85C protein. A promiscuous T-cell epitope spanning amino acids 145 to 162 of Ag85B (identical sequence in M. bovis and M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis) was identified in experimentally infected cattle. Finally, young calves, born from cows with confirmed paratuberculosis, demonstrated proliferative responses to purified, recombinant Ag85A and Ag85B from M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis. These results indicate that the M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis Ag85 homologues are immunodominant T-cell antigens that are recognized early in experimental and natural infection of cattle.
PMCID: PMC1346609  PMID: 16368974
23.  The Single Intradermal Cervical Comparative Test Interferes with Johne’s Disease ELISA Diagnostics 
Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) of milk and serum samples are a routinely used method of screening herds for Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP). Infection with MAP causes granulomatous enteritis of ruminants known as Johne’s disease (JD). The sensitivity (Se) and specificity (Sp) of MAP ELISAs leads to difficulties in the identification of both infected and infectious animals. Interference with MAP ELISA Se and Sp has been reported in MAP seronegative cows following administration of purified protein derivative (PPD) as part of intradermal testing for bovine tuberculosis (bTB). The aim of this study is to examine the impact of the single intradermal cervical comparative test (SICCT) for bTB, on both serum and milk MAP ELISA tests, in a herd containing both seropositive and seronegative cows pre-SICCT. A secondary objective is to provide appropriate timing of JD ELISA tests in relation to the SICCT. A herd of 139 cows were serum and milk sampled pre- and post-SICCT administration. Prior to SICCT, 6% of the herd tested seropositive for MAP using milk ELISA, with 8% positive on serum. ID Screen Paratuberculosis Indirect Screening Test (ID Vet) was used to screen the herd. Within 14 days of PPD administration, a significant increase in the prevalence of seropositive cows was recorded. Identical prevalence’s were recorded with both test matrices (39%). ELISA values remained significantly higher until day 43 post-SICCT in milk (P = 0.850), and day 71 in serum (P = 0.602). If the “new” positives detected post-bTB testing are deemed false positives due to generation of cross-reacting antibodies by administration of PPD, milk would appear a more suitable sample for JD ELISA testing within 2 months of SICCT. In summary, sampling for JD utilizing milk ELISA should be avoided in the 43-day period following PPD administration, with serum ELISA sampling avoided for an additional 28 days.
PMCID: PMC4228858  PMID: 25429289
Mycobacteriacea; Johne’s disease; TB test; ELISA; PPD
24.  Cloning and expression of portions of the 34-kilodalton-protein gene of Mycobacterium paratuberculosis: its application to serological analysis of Johne's disease. 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  1993;31(4):947-954.
Paratuberculosis (Johne's disease), an endemic mycobacteriosis of cattle that is caused by Mycobacterium paratuberculosis, is characterized by incoercible diarrhea and fecal shedding of bacteria. The present work aimed at developing a specific serological test for this disease. We have recently shown that a 34-kDa protein belonging to the major antigen complex A36 of M. paratuberculosis is immunodominant and contains epitopes specific with respect to all mycobacteria tested, including Mycobacterium bovis and the closely related species Mycobacterium avium. From a lambda gt11 genomic library of M. paratuberculosis, three portions of the gene coding for this 34-kDa protein have been isolated. Two of them expressed cross-reacting mycobacterial epitopes. One portion (in clone a362) expressed a polypeptide which cross-reacted with all tested M. paratuberculosis strains but not with 20 other bacteria tested, including many strains of the M. avium-Mycobacterium intracellulare-Mycobacterium scrofulaceum group. The occurrence at the M. paratuberculosis surface of epitopes corresponding to the a362 polypeptide was shown by immune electron microscopy. The recombinant a362 polypeptide was used as reagent for an enzyme-linked immunoassay for paratuberculosis. This assay correctly diagnosed all the tested blood samples from infected cattle at all stages of the disease.
PMCID: PMC263592  PMID: 7681851
25.  Host Responses to Persistent Mycobacterium avium Subspecies paratuberculosis Infection in Surgically Isolated Bovine Ileal Segments 
A lack of appropriate disease models has limited our understanding of the pathogenesis of persistent enteric infections with Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis. A model was developed for the controlled delivery of a defined dose of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis to surgically isolated ileal segments in newborn calves. The stable intestinal segments enabled the characterization of host responses to persistent M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis infections after a 9-month period, including an analysis of local mucosal immune responses relative to an adjacent uninfected intestinal compartment. M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis remained localized at the initial site of intestinal infection and was not detected by PCR in the mesenteric lymph node. M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis-specific T cell proliferative responses included both CD4 and γδ T cell receptor (γδTcR) T cell responses in the draining mesenteric lymph node. The levels of CD8+ and γδTcR+ T cells increased significantly (P < 0.05) in the lamina propria, and M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis-specific tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and gamma interferon secretion by lamina propria leukocytes was also significantly (P < 0.05) increased. There was a significant (P < 0.05) accumulation of macrophages and dendritic cells (DCs) in the lamina propria, but the expression of mucosal toll-like receptors 1 through 10 was not significantly changed by M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis infection. In conclusion, surgically isolated ileal segments provided a model system for the establishment of a persistent and localized enteric M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis infection in cattle and facilitated the analysis of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis-specific changes in mucosal leukocyte phenotype and function. The accumulation of DC subpopulations in the lamina propria suggests that further investigation of mucosal DCs may provide insight into host responses to M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis infection and improve vaccine strategies to prevent M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis infection.
PMCID: PMC3571287  PMID: 23221000

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