At present, the immune response of pigs in relation to Staphylococcus aureus carriage is poorly understood. This study was aimed at investigating the dynamics of the anti-staphylococcal humoral immune response in methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA)-positive piglets and at assessing the effect of the experimental introduction of a methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) Sequence Type (ST) 398 strain. Therefore, serum samples were collected at different times from 31 weaned piglets originating from four different sows. Twenty-four out of the 31 piglets were challenged with MRSA ST398. The serum samples were analyzed for IgG antibodies to 39 S. aureus antigens, using a multiplex bead-based assay (xMAP technology, Luminex Corporation). Though antibody responses showed broad inter-individual variability, serological results appeared to be clustered by litter of origin. For most antigens, an age-related response was observed with an apparent increase in antibody titers directed against staphylococcal microbial surface components recognizing adhesive matrix molecules (MSCRAMM), which have been shown to play a role in S. aureus colonization. In most animals, antibody titers directed against staphylococcal toxins or immune-modulating proteins decreased with age, possibly reflecting the absence of bacterial invasion. The introduction of MRSA ST398 did not elicit a significant humoral immune reaction.
This study describes, for the first time, the humoral immune response in weaned pigs colonized with S. aureus.
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.
A better understanding of the variation in infectivity and its relation with clinical signs may help to improve measures to control and prevent (clinical) outbreaks of diseases. Here we investigated the role of disease severity on infectivity and transmission of Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae, a bacterium causing respiratory problems in pig farms. We carried out transmission experiments with 10 pairs of caesarean-derived, colostrum-deprived pigs. In each pair, one pig was inoculated intranasally with 5 × 106 CFUs of A. pleuropneumoniae strain 1536 and housed together with a contact pig. Clinical signs were scored and the course of infection was observed by bacterial examination and qPCR analysis of tonsillar brush and nasal swab samples. In 6 out of 10 pairs transmission to contact pigs was observed, but disease scores in contact infected pigs were low compared to the score in inoculated pigs. Whereas disease score was positively associated with bacterial load in inoculated pigs and bacterial load with the transmission rate, the disease score had a negative association with transmission. These findings indicate that in pigs with equal bacterial load, those with higher clinical scores transmit A. pleuropneumoniae less efficiently. Finally, the correlation between disease score in inoculated pigs and in positive contact pigs was low. Although translation of experimental work towards farm level has limitations, our results suggest that clinical outbreaks of A. pleuropneumoniae are unlikely to be caused only by spread of the pathogen by clinically diseased pigs, but may rather be the result of development of clinical signs in already infected pigs.
Hemotrophic mycoplasmas (HM) are highly specialized red blood cell parasites that cause infectious anemia in a variety of mammals, including humans. To date, no in vitro cultivation systems for HM have been available, resulting in relatively little information about the pathogenesis of HM infection. In pigs, Mycoplasma suis-induced infectious anemia is associated with hemorrhagic diathesis, and coagulation dysfunction. However, intravasal coagulation and subsequent consumption coagulopathy can only partly explain the sequence of events leading to hemorrhagic diathesis manifesting as cyanosis, petechial bleeding, and ecchymosis, and to disseminated coagulation. The involvement of endothelial activation and damage in M. suis-associated pathogenesis was investigated using light and electron microscopy, immunohistochemistry, and cell sorting. M. suis interacted directly with endothelial cells in vitro and in vivo. Endothelial activation, widespread endothelial damage, and adherence of red blood cells to the endothelium were evident in M. suis-infected pigs. These alterations of the endothelium were accompanied by hemorrhage, intravascular coagulation, vascular occlusion, and massive morphological changes within the parenchyma. M. suis biofilm-like microcolonies formed on the surface of endothelial cells, and may represent a putative persistence mechanism of M. suis. In vitro analysis demonstrated that M. suis interacted with the endothelial cytoskeletal protein actin, and induced actin condensation and activation of endothelial cells, as determined by the up-regulation of ICAM, PECAM, E-selectin, and P-selectin. These findings demonstrate an additional cell tropism of HM for endothelial cells and suggest that M. suis interferes with the protective function of the endothelium, resulting in hemorrhagic diathesis.
Malaria is a serious infectious disease caused by parasites of the Plasmodium genus that affect different vertebrate hosts. Severe malaria leads to host death and involves different pathophysiological phenomena such as anemia, thrombocytopenia and inflammation. Nitric oxide (NO) is an important effector molecule in this disease, but little is known about its role in avian malaria models. Plasmodium gallinaceum- infected chickens were treated with aminoguanidine (AG), an inhibitor of inducible nitric oxide synthase, to observe the role of NO in the pathogenesis of this avian model. AG increased the survival of chickens, but also induced higher parasitemia. Treated chickens demonstrated reduced anemia and thrombocytopenia. Moreover, erythrocytes at different stages of maturation, heterophils, monocytes and thrombocytes were infected by Plasmodium gallinaceum and animals presented a generalized leucopenia. Activated leukocytes and thrombocytes with elongated double nuclei were observed in chickens with higher parasitemia; however, eosinophils were not involved in the infection. AG reduced levels of hemozoin in the spleen and liver, indicating lower inflammation. Taken together, the results suggest that AG reduced anemia, thrombocytopenia and inflammation, explaining the greater survival rate of the treated chickens.
Pigeon protozoal encephalitis (PPE) is an emerging central-nervous disease of domestic pigeons (Columba livia f. domestica) reported in Germany and the United States. It is caused by the apicomplexan parasite Sarcocystis calchasi which is transmitted by Accipter hawks. In contrast to other members of the Apicomplexa such as Toxoplasma and Plasmodium, the knowledge about the pathophysiology and host manipulation of Sarcocystis is scarce and almost nothing is known about PPE. Here we show by mRNA expression profiling a significant down-modulation of the interleukin (IL)-12/IL-18/interferon (IFN)-γ axis in the brains of experimentally infected pigeons during the schizogonic phase of disease. Concomitantly, no cellular immune response was observed in histopathology while immunohistochemistry and nested PCR detected S. calchasi. In contrast, in the late central-nervous phase, IFN-γ and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) α-related cytokines were significantly up-modulated, which correlated with a prominent MHC-II protein expression in areas of mononuclear cell infiltration and necrosis. The mononuclear cell fraction was mainly composed of T-lymphocytes, fewer macrophages and B-lymphocytes. Surprisingly, the severity and composition of the immune cell response appears unrelated to the infectious dose, although the severity and onset of the central nervous signs clearly was dose-dependent. We identified no or only very few tissue cysts by immunohistochemistry in pigeons with severe encephalitis of which one pigeon repeatedly remained negative by PCR despite severe lesions. Taken together, these observations may suggest an immune evasion strategy of S. calchasi during the early phase and a delayed-type hypersensitivity reaction as cause of the extensive cerebral lesions during the late neurological phase of disease.
The present study was aimed at investigating the effect of experimental infection by Trypanosoma vivax in different stages of pregnancy, determining the pathogenesis of reproductive failure, and confirming transplacental transmission. We used 12 pregnant ewes distributed into four experimental groups: G1, was formed by three ewes infected with T. vivax in the first third of pregnancy (30 days); G2 comprised three infected ewes in the final third of pregnancy (100 days); G3 and G4 were composed of three non-infected ewes with the same gestational period, respectively. Each ewe of G1 and G2 was inoculated with 1.25 × 105 tripomastigotes. Clinical examination, determination of parasitemia, serum biochemistry (albumin, total protein, glucose, cholesterol, and urea), packed cell volume (PCV), serum progesterone, and pathological examination were performed. Placenta, amniotic fluid, blood and tissues from the fetuses and stillbirths were submitted to PCR. Two ewes of G1 (Ewe 1 and 3) presented severe infection and died in the 34th and 35th days post-infection (dpi), respectively; but both fetuses were recovered during necropsy. In G2, Ewe 5 aborted two fetuses on the 130th day (30 dpi) of pregnancy; and Ewe 6 aborted one fetus in the 140th day (40 dpi) of gestation. Ewes 2 and 4 delivered two weak lambs that died five days after birth. Factors possibly involved with the reproductive failure included high parasitemia, fever, low PCV, body score, serum glucose, total protein, cholesterol, and progesterone. Hepatitis, pericarditis, and encephalitis were observed in the aborted fetuses. The presence of T. vivax DNA in the placenta, amniotic fluid, blood, and tissues from the fetuses confirms the transplacental transmission of the parasite. Histological lesion in the fetuses and placenta also suggest the involvement of the parasite in the etiopathogenesis of reproductive failure in ewes.
The heartworm Dirofilaria immitis is the causative agent of cardiopulmonary dirofilariosis in dogs and cats, which also infects a wide range of wild mammals and humans. The complex life cycle of D. immitis with several developmental stages in its invertebrate mosquito vectors and its vertebrate hosts indicates the importance of miRNA in growth and development, and their ability to regulate infection of mammalian hosts. This study identified the miRNA profiles of D. immitis of zoonotic significance by deep sequencing. A total of 1063 conserved miRNA candidates, including 68 anti-sense miRNA (miRNA*) sequences, were predicted by computational methods and could be grouped into 808 miRNA families. A significant bias towards family members, family abundance and sequence nucleotides was observed. Thirteen novel miRNA candidates were predicted by alignment with the Brugia malayi genome. Eleven out of 13 predicted miRNA candidates were verified by using a PCR-based method. Target genes of the novel miRNA candidates were predicted by using the heartworm transcriptome dataset. To our knowledge, this is the first report of miRNA profiles in D. immitis, which will contribute to a better understanding of the complex biology of this zoonotic filarial nematode and the molecular regulation roles of miRNA involved. Our findings may also become a useful resource for small RNA studies in other filarial parasitic nematodes.
The conventional C-strain vaccine induces early protection against classical swine fever (CSF), but infected animals cannot be distinguished from vaccinated animals. The CP7_E2alf marker vaccine, a pestivirus chimera, could be a suitable substitute for C-strain vaccine to control CSF outbreaks. In this study, single oral applications of CP7_E2alf and C-strain vaccines were compared for their efficacy to induce protection against a CSF virus (CSFV) challenge with the moderately virulent Bas-Rhin isolate, in pigs as early as two days post-immunization. This work emphasizes the powerful potential of CP7_E2alf vaccine administered orally by a rapid onset of partial protection similar to that induced by the C-strain vaccine. Furthermore, our results revealed that both vaccinations attenuated the effects induced by CSFV on production of the pig major acute phase protein (PigMAP), IFN-α, IL-12, IL-10, and TGF-β1 cytokines. By this interference, several cytokines that may play a role in the pathogeny induced by moderately virulent CSFV strains were revealed. New hypotheses concerning the role of each of these cytokines in CSFV pathogeny are discussed. Our results also show that oral vaccination with either vaccine (CP7_E2alf or C-strain) enhanced CSFV–specific IgG2 production, compared to infection alone. Interestingly, despite the similar antibody profiles displayed by both vaccines post-challenge, the production of CSFV-specific IgG1 and neutralizing antibodies without challenge was lower with CP7_E2alf vaccination than with C-strain vaccination, suggesting a slight difference in the balance of adaptive immune responses between these vaccines.
Sheep scab is an intensively pruritic, exudative and allergic dermatitis of sheep caused by the ectoparasitic mite Psoroptes ovis. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effect of P. ovis infestation on different components of the ovine epidermal barrier within the first 24 hours post-infestation (hpi). To achieve this, the expression of epidermal differentiation complex (EDC) genes and epidermal barrier proteins, the nature and severity of epidermal pathology and transepidermal water loss (TEWL) were evaluated.
By 1 hpi a significant dermal polymorphonuclear infiltrate and a significant increase in TEWL with maximal mean TEWL (598.67 g/m2h) were observed. Epidermal pathology involving intra-epidermal pustulation, loss of epidermal architecture and damage to the basement membrane was seen by 3 hpi. Filaggrin and loricrin protein levels in the stratum corneum declined significantly in the first 24 hpi and qPCR validation confirmed the decrease in expression of the key EDC genes involucrin, filaggrin and loricrin observed by microarray analysis, with 5.8-fold, 4.5-fold and 80-fold decreases, respectively by 24 hpi.
The present study has demonstrated that early P. ovis infestation disrupts the ovine epidermal barrier causing significant alterations in the expression of critical barrier components, epidermal pathology, and TEWL. Many of these features have also been documented in human and canine atopic dermatitis suggesting that sheep scab may provide a model for the elucidation of events occurring in the early phases of atopic sensitisation.
Natural Killer (NK) cells play a crucial role in the early phase of immune responses against various pathogens. In swine so far only little information about this lymphocyte population exists. Phenotypical analyses with newly developed monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against porcine NKp46 recently revealed that in blood NKp46- and NKp46+ cells with NK phenotype exist with comparable cytotoxic properties. In spleen a third NKp46-defined population with NK phenotype was observed that was characterised by a low to negative CD8α and increased NKp46 expression. In the current study it is shown that this NKp46high phenotype was correlated with an increased expression of CD16 and CD27 compared to the CD8α+NKp46- and NKp46+ NK-cell subsets in spleen and blood. Additionally NKp46high NK cells expressed elevated levels of the chemokine receptor CXCR3 on mRNA level. Functional analyses revealed that splenic NKp46high NK cells produced much higher levels of Interferon-γ and Tumor Necrosis Factor-α upon stimulation with cytokines or phorbol-12-myristate-13-acetate/Ionomycin compared to the other two subsets. Furthermore, cross-linking of NKp46 by NKp46-specific mAbs led to a superior CD107a expression in the NKp46high NK cells, thus indicating a higher cytolytic capacity of this subset. Therefore porcine splenic NKp46high NK cells represent a highly activated subset of NK cells and may play a profound role in the immune surveillance of this organ.
Chagas disease has a high incidence in Mexico and other Latin American countries. Because one of the most important known methods of prevention is vector control, which has been effective only in certain areas of South America, the development of a vaccine to protect people at risk has been proposed. In this study, we assessed the cellular and humoral immune response generated following immunization with pBCSP and pBCSSP4 plasmids containing the genes encoding a trans-sialidase protein (present in all three forms of T. cruzi) and an amastigote specific glycoprotein, respectively, in a canine model. Thirty-five beagle dogs were divided randomly into 5 groups (n = 7) and were immunized twice intramuscularly with 500 μg of pBCSSP4, pBCSP, pBk-CMV (empty plasmid) or saline solution. Fifteen days after the last immunization the 4 groups were infected intraperitoneally with 500 000 metacyclic trypomastigotes. The fifth group was unimmunized/infected. The parasitaemia in the immunized/infected dogs was for a shorter period (14 vs. 29 days) and the parasite load was lower. The concentration of IgG1 (0.612 ± 0.019 O.D.) and IgG2 (1.167 ± 0.097 O.D.) subclasses was measured (absorbance) 15 days after the last immunization with both recombinant plasmids, the majority of which were IgG2. The treatment of parasites using the serum from dogs immunized with pBCSP and pBCSSP4 plasmids produced 54% (± 11.8) and 68% (± 21.4) complement-mediated lysis, respectively. At 12 h post immunization, an increase in cytokines was not observed; however, vaccination with pBCSSP4 significantly increased the levels of IFN-γ and IL-10 at 9 months post-infection. The recombinant plasmid immunization stimulated the spleen cell proliferation showing a positive stimulatory index above 2.0. In conclusion, immunization using both genes effectively induces a humoral and cellular immune response.
Lumpy skin disease (LSD) is a severe viral disease of cattle. Circumstantial evidence suggests that the virus is transmitted mechanically by blood-feeding arthropods. We compared the importance of transmission via direct and indirect contact in field conditions by using mathematical tools. We analyzed a dataset collected during the LSD outbreak in 2006 in a large dairy herd, which included ten separated cattle groups. Outbreak dynamics and risk factors for LSD were assessed by a transmission model. Transmission by three contact modes was modelled; indirect contact between the groups within a herd, direct contact or contact via common drinking water within the groups and transmission by contact during milking procedure. Indirect transmission was the only parameter that could solely explain the entire outbreak dynamics and was estimated to have an overall effect that was over 5 times larger than all other possible routes of transmission, combined. The R0 value induced by indirect transmission per the presence of an infectious cow for 1 day in the herd was 15.7, while the R0 induced by direct transmission was 0.36. Sensitivity analysis showed that this result is robust to a wide range of assumptions regarding mean and standard deviation of incubation period and regarding the existence of sub-clinically infected cattle. These results indicate that LSD virus spread within the affected herd could hardly be attributed to direct contact between cattle or contact through the milking procedure. It is therefore concluded that transmission mostly occurs by indirect contact, probably by flying, blood-sucking insects. This has important implications for control of LSD.
Porcine pleuropneumonia caused by Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae accounts for serious economic losses in the pig farming industry worldwide. We examined here the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of the recombinant type IV fimbrial subunit protein ApfA as a single antigen vaccine against pleuropneumonia, or as a component of a multi-antigen preparation comprising five other recombinant antigens derived from key virulence factors of A. pleuropneumoniae (ApxIA, ApxIIA, ApxIIIA, ApxIVA and TbpB). Immunization of pigs with recombinant ApfA alone induced high levels of specific serum antibodies and provided partial protection against challenge with the heterologous A. pleuropneumoniae serotype 9 strain. This protection was higher than that engendered by vaccination with rApxIVA or rTbpB alone and similar to that observed after immunization with the tri-antigen combination of rApxIA, rApxIIA and rApxIIIA. In addition, rApfA improved the vaccination potential of the penta-antigen mixture of rApxIA, rApxIIA, rApxIIIA, rApxIVA and rTbpB proteins, where the hexa-antigen vaccine containing rApfA conferred a high level of protection on pigs against the disease. Moreover, when rApfA was used for vaccination alone or in combination with other antigens, such immunization reduced the number of pigs colonized with the challenge strain. These results indicate that ApfA could be a valuable component of an efficient subunit vaccine for the prevention of porcine pleuropneumonia.
The role of chondrocytes in the development of infectious arthritis is not well understood. Several examples of mycoplasma-induced arthritis in animals indicate that chondrocytes come into direct contact with bacteria. The objective of this study was to analyze the interaction of an arthrogenic Mycoplasma synoviae strain WVU 1853 with chicken chondrocytes. We found that M. synoviae significantly reduces chondrocyte respiration. This was accompanied by alterations in chondrocyte morphology, namely cell shrinkage and cytoplasm condensation, as well as nuclear condensation and formation of plasma membrane invaginations containing nuclear material, which appeared to cleave off the cell surface. In concordance with these apoptosis-like events in chondrocytes, transcription was increased in several pro-apoptotic genes. Twenty-four hours after infection, strong upregulation was assayed in NOS2, Mapk11, CASP8 and Casp3 genes. Twenty-four and 72 h incubation of chondrocytes with M. synoviae induced upregulation of AIFM1, NFκB1, htrA3 and BCL2. Casp3 and NOS2 remained upregulated, but upregulation ceased for Mapk11 and CASP8 genes. Increased production of nitric oxide was also confirmed in cell supernates. The data suggests that chicken chondrocytes infected with M. synoviae die by apoptosis involving production of nitric oxide, caspase 3 activation and mitochondrial inactivation. The results of this study show for the first time that mycoplasmas could cause chondrocyte apoptosis. This could contribute to tissue destruction and influence the development of arthritic conditions. Hence, the study gives new insights into the role of mycoplasma infection on chondrocyte biology and development of infectious arthritis in chickens and potentially in humans.
Cyprinid herpesvirus 3 (CyHV-3), also known as Koi herpesvirus, is the etiological agent of a mortal disease in common and koi carp. Recently, we investigated the entry of CyHV-3 in carp using bioluminescence imaging and a CyHV-3 recombinant strain expressing luciferase (LUC). We demonstrated that the skin is the major portal of entry after inoculation of carp by immersion in water containing CyHV-3. While this model of infection mimics some natural conditions in which infection takes place, other epidemiological conditions could favour entry of virus through the digestive tract. Here, we investigated whether ingestion of infectious materials mediates CyHV-3 entry through the digestive tract. Carp were fed with materials contaminated with the CyHV-3 LUC recombinant (oral contamination) or immersed in water containing the virus (contamination by immersion). Bioluminescence imaging analyses performed at different times post-infection led to the following observations: (i) the pharyngeal periodontal mucosa is the major portal of entry after oral contamination, while the skin is the major portal of entry after contamination by immersion. (ii) Both modes of inoculation led to the spreading of the infection to the various organs tested. However, the timing and the sequence in which some of the organs turned positive were different between the two modes of inoculation. Finally, we compared the disease induced by the two inoculation modes. They led to comparable clinical signs and mortality rate. The results of the present study suggest that, based on epidemiological conditions, CyHV-3 can enter carp either by skin or periodontal pharyngeal mucosal infection.
Endemic diseases of cattle, such as bovine viral diarrhea, have significant impact on production efficiency of food of animal origin with consequences for animal welfare and climate change reduction targets. Many modeling studies focus on the local scale, examining the on-farm dynamics of this infectious disease. However, insight into prevalence and control across a network of farms ultimately requires a network level approach. Here, we implement understanding of infection dynamics, gained through these detailed on-farm modeling studies, to produce a national scale model of bovine viral diarrhea virus transmission. The complex disease epidemiology and on-farm dynamics are approximated using SIS dynamics with each farm treated as a single unit. Using a top down approach, we estimate on-farm parameters associated with contraction and subsequent clearance from infection at herd level. We examine possible control strategies associated with animal movements between farms and find measures targeted at a small number of high-movement farms efficient for rapid and sustained prevalence reduction.
Susceptibility of sheep to scrapie, a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy of small ruminants, is strongly influenced by polymorphisms of the prion protein gene (PRNP). Breeding programs have been implemented to increase scrapie resistance in sheep populations; though desirable, a similar approach has not yet been applied in goats. European studies have now suggested that several polymorphisms can modulate scrapie susceptibility in goats: in particular, PRNP variant K222 has been associated with resistance in case-control studies in Italy, France and Greece. In this study we investigated the resistance conferred by this variant using a natural Italian goat scrapie isolate to intracerebrally challenge five goats carrying genotype Q/Q 222 (wild type) and five goats carrying genotype Q/K 222. By the end of the study, all five Q/Q 222 goats had died of scrapie after a mean incubation period of 19 months; one of the five Q/K 222 goats died after 24 months, while the other four were alive and apparently healthy up to the end of the study at 4.5 years post-challenge. All five of these animals were found to be scrapie negative. Statistical analysis showed that the probability of survival of the Q/K 222 goats versus the Q/Q 222 goats was significantly higher (p = 0.002). Our study shows that PRNP gene mutation K222 is strongly associated with resistance to classical scrapie also in experimental conditions, making it a potentially positive target for selection in the frame of breeding programs for resistance to classical scrapie in goats.
The aim of this study was to determine, using immunofluorescence and in situ hybridization, whether CAEV is capable of infecting goat uterine epithelial cells in vivo. Five CAEV seropositive goats confirmed as infected using double nested polymerase chain reaction (dnPCR) on leucocytes and on vaginal secretions were used as CAEV positive goats. Five CAEV-free goats were used as controls. Samples from the uterine horn were prepared for dnPCR, in situ hybridization, and immunofluorescence. The results from dnPCR confirmed the presence of CAEV proviral DNA in the uterine horn samples of infected goats whereas no CAEV proviral DNA was detected in samples taken from the uninfected control goats. The in situ hybridization probe was complementary to part of the CAEV gag gene and confirmed the presence of CAEV nucleic acids in uterine samples. The positively staining cells were seen concentrated in the mucosa of the lamina propria of uterine sections. Finally, laser confocal analysis of double p28/cytokeratin immunolabelled transverse sections of CAEV infected goat uterus, demonstrated that the virus was localized in glandular and epithelial cells. This study clearly demonstrates that goat uterine epithelial cells are susceptible to CAEV infection in vivo. This finding could help to further our understanding of the epidemiology of CAEV, and in particular the possibility of vertical transmission.
Escherichia coli is a frequent cause of clinical mastitis in dairy cows. It has been shown that a prompt response of the mammary gland after E. coli entry into the lumen of the gland is required to control the infection, which means that the early detection of bacteria is of prime importance. Yet, apart from lipopolysaccharide (LPS), little is known of the bacterial components which are detected by the mammary innate immune system. We investigated the repertoire of potential bacterial agonists sensed by the udder and bovine mammary epithelial cells (bMEC) during E. coli mastitis by using purified or synthetic molecular surrogates of bacterial agonists of identified pattern-recognition receptors (PRRs). The production of CXCL8 and the influx of leucocytes in milk were the readouts of reactivity of stimulated cultured bMEC and challenged udders, respectively. Quantitative PCR revealed that bMEC in culture expressed the nucleotide oligomerization domain receptors NOD1 and NOD2, along with the Toll-like receptors TLR1, TLR2, TLR4, and TLR6, but hardly TLR5. In line with expression data, bMEC proved to react to the cognate agonists C12-iE-DAP (NOD1), Pam3CSK4 (TLR1/2), Pam2CSK4 (TLR2/6), pure LPS (TLR4), but not to flagellin (TLR5). As the udder reactivity to NOD1 and TLR5 agonists has never been reported, we tested whether the mammary gland reacted to intramammary infusion of C12-iE-DAP or flagellin. The udder reacted to C12-iE-DAP, but not to flagellin, in line with the reactivity of bMEC. These results extend our knowledge of the reactivity of the bovine mammary gland to bacterial agonists of the innate immune system, and suggest that E. coli can be recognized by several PRRs including NOD1, but unexpectedly not by TLR5. The way the mammary gland senses E. coli is likely to shape the innate immune response and finally the outcome of E. coli mastitis.
An enteroaggregative Verotoxin (Vtx)-producing Escherichia coli strain of serotype O104:H4 has recently been associated with an outbreak of haemolytic-uremic syndrome and bloody diarrhoea in humans mainly in Germany, but also in 14 other European countries, USA and Canada. This O104:H4 E. coli strain has often been described as an enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC), i.e. a Vtx-producing E. coli with attaching and effacing properties. Although both EHEC and the German O104:H4 E. coli strains indeed produce Vtx, they nevertheless differ in several other virulence traits, as well as in epidemiological characteristics. For instance, the primary sources and vehicles of typical EHEC infections in humans are ruminants, whereas no animal reservoir has been identified for enteroaggregative E. coli (EAggEC). The present article is introduced by a brief overview of the main characteristics of Vtx-producing E. coli and EAggEC. Thereafter, the O104:H4 E. coli outbreak is compared to typical EHEC outbreaks and the virulence factors and host specificity of EHEC and EAggEC are discussed. Finally, a renewed nomenclature of Vtx-producing E. coli is proposed to avoid more confusion in communication during future outbreaks and to replace the acronym EHEC that only refers to a clinical condition.
Probiotic and prebiotics, often called "immune-enhancing" feed additives, are believed to deal with pathogens, preventing the need of an immune response and reducing tissue damage. In this study, we investigated if a recently developed β-galactomannan (βGM) had a similar protective role compared to Saccharomyces cerevisiae var. Boulardii (Scb), a proven probiotic, in the context of enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) infection. ETEC causes inflammation, diarrhea and intestinal damage in piglets, resulting in large economic loses worldwide. We observed that Scb and βGM products inhibited in vitro adhesion of ETEC on cell surface of porcine intestinal IPI-2I cells. Our data showed that Scb and βGM decreased the mRNA ETEC-induced gene expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines TNF-α, IL-6, GM-CSF and chemokines CCL2, CCL20 and CXCL8 on intestinal IPI-2I. Furthermore, we investigated the putative immunomodulatory role of Scb and βGM on porcine monocyte-derived dendritic cells (DCs) per se and under infection conditions. We observed a slight up-regulation of mRNA for TNF-α and CCR7 receptor after co-incubation of DC with Scb and βGM. However, no differences were found in DC activation upon ETEC infection and Scb or βGM co-culture. Therefore, our results indicate that, similar to probiotic Scb, prebiotic βGM may protect intestinal epithelial cells against intestinal pathogens. Finally, although these products may modulate DC activation, their effect under ETEC challenge conditions remains to be elucidated.
West Nile virus (WNV) is a positive-stranded RNA virus belonging to the Flaviviridae family, a large family with 3 main genera (flavivirus, hepacivirus and pestivirus). Among these viruses, there are several globally relevant human pathogens including the mosquito-borne dengue virus (DENV), yellow fever virus (YFV), Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) and West Nile virus (WNV), as well as tick-borne viruses such as tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV). Since the mid-1990s, outbreaks of WN fever and encephalitis have occurred throughout the world and WNV is now endemic in Africa, Asia, Australia, the Middle East, Europe and the Unites States. This review describes the molecular virology, epidemiology, pathogenesis, and highlights recent progress regarding diagnosis and vaccination against WNV infections.
To investigate immune responses upon re-infection with Lawsonia intracellularis, local and peripheral humoral and cell-mediated immune responses to primary and challenge inoculations were studied in 22 pigs. Pigs were orally inoculated with virulent L. intracellularis at the age of 5-6 weeks, treated with antibiotics and challenged with a re-inoculation (RE) at the age of 12 weeks. Treatment control (TC) pigs received only the primary inoculation and challenge control (CC) pigs received only the secondary inoculation at 12 weeks of age. Following this regimen, all RE pigs were protected against the re-infection as defined by reduced colonisation and pathology of intestinal mucosa, absence of bacterial shedding and without increase in serum acute phase protein response. In the protected RE pigs, serum IgG responses were variable with both high and low responders. Serum IgA responses were not boosted by the re-inoculation, since identical intestinal IgA responses developed in response to the inoculation in both the susceptible CC pigs and the protected RE pigs. A memory recall cell-mediated immune response developed in RE pigs which was significantly stronger compared to the primary response in age-matched CC pigs as assessed by whole blood IFN-γ assay and by calculation of IFN-γ integrated median fluorescence intensity (iMFI) after flow cytometry. The major IFN-γ producing cells were identified as CD8+ and CD4+CD8+ double positive lymphocytes. The results indicate that cell-mediated immune responses are likely mediators of protective immunity against L. intracellularis, with CD8+ effector cells and CD4+CD8+ double positive memory T cells as main contributors to the antigen-specific IFN-γ production.
Disease modelling is one approach for providing new insights into wildlife disease epidemiology. This paper describes a spatio-temporal, stochastic, susceptible- exposed-infected-recovered process model that simulates the potential spread of classical swine fever through a documented, large and free living wild pig population following a simulated incursion. The study area (300 000 km2) was in northern Australia. Published data on wild pig ecology from Australia, and international Classical Swine Fever data was used to parameterise the model. Sensitivity analyses revealed that herd density (best estimate 1-3 pigs km-2), daily herd movement distances (best estimate approximately 1 km), probability of infection transmission between herds (best estimate 0.75) and disease related herd mortality (best estimate 42%) were highly influential on epidemic size but that extraordinary movements of pigs and the yearly home range size of a pig herd were not. CSF generally established (98% of simulations) following a single point introduction. CSF spread at approximately 9 km2 per day with low incidence rates (< 2 herds per day) in an epidemic wave along contiguous habitat for several years, before dying out (when the epidemic arrived at the end of a contiguous sub-population or at a low density wild pig area). The low incidence rate indicates that surveillance for wildlife disease epidemics caused by short lived infections will be most efficient when surveillance is based on detection and investigation of clinical events, although this may not always be practical. Epidemics could be contained and eradicated with culling (aerial shooting) or vaccination when these were adequately implemented. It was apparent that the spatial structure, ecology and behaviour of wild populations must be accounted for during disease management in wildlife. An important finding was that it may only be necessary to cull or vaccinate relatively small proportions of a population to successfully contain and eradicate some wildlife disease epidemics.