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1.  Are Patients with Erythema Migrans Who Have Leukopenia and/or Thrombocytopenia Coinfected with Anaplasma phagocytophilum or Tick-Borne Encephalitis Virus? 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e103188.
Lyme borreliosis (LB), tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) and human granulocytic anaplasmosis (HGA) are endemic in central part of Slovenia. We tested the hypothesis that patients with erythema migrans (EM) from this region, who have leukopenia and/or thrombocytopenia (typical findings in HGA and in the initial phase of TBE but not in patients with LB) are coinfected with Anaplasma phagocytophilum and/or with TBE virus, i.e. that cytopenia is a result of concomitant HGA or the initial phase of TBE. Comparison of clinical and laboratory findings for 67 patients with EM who disclosed leukopenia/thrombocytopenia with the corresponding results in sex- and age-matched patients with EM and normal blood cell counts revealed no differences. In addition, patients with typical EM and leukopenia and/or thrombocytopenia tested negative for the presence of IgM and IgG antibodies to TBE virus by ELISA as well as for the presence of specific IgG antibodies to A. phagocytophilum antigens by IFA in acute and convalescent serum samples. Thus, none of 67 patients (95% CI: 0 to 5.3%) with typical EM (the presence of this skin lesion attests for early Lyme borreliosis and is the evidence for a recent tick bite) was found to be coinfected with A. phagocytophilum or had a recent primary infection with TBE virus. The findings in the present study indicate that in Slovenia, and probably in other European countries endemic for LB, TBE and HGA, patients with early LB are rarely coinfected with the other tick-transmitted agents.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0103188
PMCID: PMC4110002  PMID: 25057802
2.  Gene expression profile suggests that pigs (Sus scrofa) are susceptible to Anaplasma phagocytophilum but control infection 
Parasites & Vectors  2012;5:181.
Background
Anaplasma phagocytophilum infects a wide variety of hosts and causes granulocytic anaplasmosis in humans, horses and dogs and tick-borne fever in ruminants. Infection with A. phagocytophilum results in the modification of host gene expression and immune response. The objective of this research was to characterize gene expression in pigs (Sus scrofa) naturally and experimentally infected with A. phagocytophilum trying to identify mechanisms that help to explain low infection prevalence in this species.
Results
For gene expression analysis in naturally infected pigs, microarray hybridization was used. The expression of differentially expressed immune response genes was analyzed by real-time RT-PCR in naturally and experimentally infected pigs. Results suggested that A. phagocytophilum infection affected cytoskeleton rearrangement and increased both innate and adaptive immune responses by up regulation of interleukin 1 receptor accessory protein-like 1 (IL1RAPL1), T-cell receptor alpha chain (TCR-alpha), thrombospondin 4 (TSP-4) and Gap junction protein alpha 1 (GJA1) genes. Higher serum levels of IL-1 beta, IL-8 and TNF-alpha in infected pigs when compared to controls supported data obtained at the mRNA level.
Conclusions
These results suggested that pigs are susceptible to A. phagocytophilum but control infection, particularly through activation of innate immune responses, phagocytosis and autophagy. This fact may account for the low infection prevalence detected in pigs in some regions and thus their low or no impact as a reservoir host for this pathogen. These results advanced our understanding of the molecular mechanisms at the host-pathogen interface and suggested a role for newly reported genes in the protection of pigs against A. phagocytophilum.
doi:10.1186/1756-3305-5-181
PMCID: PMC3453518  PMID: 22935149
Anaplasmosis; Genetics; Pig; Wild boar; Genomics; Immune response
3.  Anaplasma phagocytophilum in ticks in Slovenia 
Parasites & Vectors  2010;3:102.
Ticks act as vectors of many pathogens of domestic animals and humans. Anaplasma phagocytophilum in Europe is transmitted by the ixodid tick vector Ixodes ricinus. A. phagocytophilum causes a disease with diverse clinical signs in various hosts. A great genetic diversity of the groESL operon of A. phagocytophilum has been found in ticks elsewhere. In Slovenia, the variety of the groESL operon was conducted only on deer samples. In this study, the prevalence of infected ticks was estimated and the diversity of A. phagocytophilum was evaluated. On 8 locations in Slovenia, 1924 and 5049 (6973) I. ricinus ticks were collected from vegetation in the years 2005 and 2006, respectively. All three feeding stages of the tick's life cycle were examined. The prevalence of ticks infected with A. phagocytophilum in the year 2005 and in the year 2006 was 0.31% and 0.63%, respectively, and it did not differ considerably between locations. The similarity among the sequences of groESL ranged from 95.6% to 99.8%. They clustered in two genetic lineages along with A. phagocytophilum from Slovenian deer. One sequence formed a separate cluster. According to our study, the prevalence of A. phagocytophilum in ticks is comparable to the findings in other studies in Europe, and it does not vary considerably between locations and tick stages. According to groESL operon analysis, two genetic lineages have been confirmed and one proposed. Further studies on other genes would be useful to obtain more information on genetic diversity of A. phagocytophilum in ticks in Slovenia.
doi:10.1186/1756-3305-3-102
PMCID: PMC2988007  PMID: 21050436

Results 1-3 (3)