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author:("pasmcs, Frank")
1.  The Impact of Fusarium Mycotoxins on Human and Animal Host Susceptibility to Infectious Diseases 
Toxins  2014;6(2):430-452.
Contamination of food and feed with mycotoxins is a worldwide problem. At present, acute mycotoxicosis caused by high doses is rare in humans and animals. Ingestion of low to moderate amounts of Fusarium mycotoxins is common and generally does not result in obvious intoxication. However, these low amounts may impair intestinal health, immune function and/or pathogen fitness, resulting in altered host pathogen interactions and thus a different outcome of infection. This review summarizes the current state of knowledge about the impact of Fusarium mycotoxin exposure on human and animal host susceptibility to infectious diseases. On the one hand, exposure to deoxynivalenol and other Fusarium mycotoxins generally exacerbates infections with parasites, bacteria and viruses across a wide range of animal host species. Well-known examples include coccidiosis in poultry, salmonellosis in pigs and mice, colibacillosis in pigs, necrotic enteritis in poultry, enteric septicemia of catfish, swine respiratory disease, aspergillosis in poultry and rabbits, reovirus infection in mice and Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus infection in pigs. However, on the other hand, T-2 toxin has been shown to markedly decrease the colonization capacity of Salmonella in the pig intestine. Although the impact of the exposure of humans to Fusarium toxins on infectious diseases is less well known, extrapolation from animal models suggests possible exacerbation of, for instance, colibacillosis and salmonellosis in humans, as well.
PMCID: PMC3942744  PMID: 24476707
deoxynivalenol; fumonisin; Fusarium mycotoxins; human; infectious diseases; mouse; pig; poultry; T-2 toxin; zearalenone
3.  Effects of Helicobacter suis γ- Glutamyl Transpeptidase on Lymphocytes: Modulation by Glutamine and Glutathione Supplementation and Outer Membrane Vesicles as a Putative Delivery Route of the Enzyme 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e77966.
Helicobacter (H.) suis colonizes the stomach of the majority of pigs as well as a minority of humans worldwide. Infection causes chronic inflammation in the stomach of the host, however without an effective clearance of the bacteria. Currently, no information is available about possible mechanisms H. suis utilizes to interfere with the host immune response. This study describes the effect on various lymphocytes of the γ-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT) from H. suis. Compared to whole cell lysate from wild-type H. suis, lysate from a H. suis ggt mutant strain showed a decrease of the capacity to inhibit Jurkat T cell proliferation. Incubation of Jurkat T cells with recombinantly expressed H. suis GGT resulted in an impaired proliferation, and cell death was shown to be involved. A similar but more pronounced inhibitory effect was also seen on primary murine CD4+ T cells, CD8+ T cells, and CD19+ B cells. Supplementation with known GGT substrates was able to modulate the observed effects. Glutamine restored normal proliferation of the cells, whereas supplementation with reduced glutathione strengthened the H. suis GGT-mediated inhibition of proliferation. H. suis GGT treatment abolished secretion of IL-4 and IL-17 by CD4+ T cells, without affecting secretion of IFN-γ. Finally, H. suis outer membrane vesicles (OMV) were identified as a possible delivery route of H. suis GGT to lymphocytes residing in the deeper mucosal layers. Thus far, this study is the first to report that the effects on lymphocytes of this enzyme, not only important for H. suis metabolism but also for that of other Helicobacter species, depend on the degradation of two specific substrates: glutamine and reduced glutatione. This will provide new insights into the pathogenic mechanisms of H. suis infection in particular and infection with gastric helicobacters in general.
PMCID: PMC3797756  PMID: 24147103
4.  Multilocus Sequence Typing of the Porcine and Human Gastric Pathogen Helicobacter suis 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2013;51(3):920-926.
Helicobacter suis is a Gram-negative bacterium colonizing the majority of pigs, in which it causes gastritis and decreased daily weight gain. H. suis is also the most prevalent gastric non-Helicobacter pylori Helicobacter species in humans, capable of causing gastric disorders. To gain insight into the genetic diversity of porcine and human H. suis strains, a multilocus sequence typing (MLST) method was developed. In a preliminary study, 7 housekeeping genes (atpA, efp, mutY, ppa, trpC, ureI, and yphC) of 10 H. suis isolates cultured in vitro were investigated as MLST candidates. All genes, except the ureI gene, which was replaced by part of the ureAB gene cluster of H. suis, displayed several variable nucleotide sites. Subsequently, internal gene fragments, ranging from 379 to 732 bp and comprising several variable nucleotide sites, were selected. For validation of the developed MLST technique, gastric tissue from 17 H. suis-positive pigs from 4 different herds and from 1 H. suis-infected human patient was used for direct, culture-independent strain typing of H. suis. In addition to the 10 unique sequence types (STs) among the 10 isolates grown in vitro, 15 additional STs could be assigned. Individual animals were colonized by only 1 H. suis strain, whereas multiple H. suis strains were present in all herds tested, revealing that H. suis is a genetically diverse bacterial species. The human H. suis strain showed a very close relationship to porcine strains. In conclusion, the developed MLST scheme may prove useful for direct, culture-independent typing of porcine and human H. suis strains.
PMCID: PMC3592083  PMID: 23303499
5.  Resistance to Chytridiomycosis in European Plethodontid Salamanders of the Genus Speleomantes 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e63639.
North America and the neotropics harbor nearly all species of plethodontid salamanders. In contrast, this family of caudate amphibians is represented in Europe and Asia by two genera, Speleomantes and Karsenia, which are confined to small geographic ranges. Compared to neotropical and North American plethodontids, mortality attributed to chytridiomycosis caused by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) has not been reported for European plethodontids, despite the established presence of Bd in their geographic distribution. We determined the extent to which Bd is present in populations of all eight species of European Speleomantes and show that Bd was undetectable in 921 skin swabs. We then compared the susceptibility of one of these species, Speleomantes strinatii, to experimental infection with a highly virulent isolate of Bd (BdGPL), and compared this to the susceptible species Alytes muletensis. Whereas the inoculated A. muletensis developed increasing Bd-loads over a 4-week period, none of five exposed S. strinatii were colonized by Bd beyond 2 weeks post inoculation. Finally, we determined the extent to which skin secretions of Speleomantes species are capable of killing Bd. Skin secretions of seven Speleomantes species showed pronounced killing activity against Bd over 24 hours. In conclusion, the absence of Bd in Speleomantes combined with resistance to experimental chytridiomycosis and highly efficient skin defenses indicate that the genus Speleomantes is a taxon unlikely to decline due to Bd.
PMCID: PMC3659026  PMID: 23703511
6.  Porcine intestinal epithelial barrier disruption by the Fusarium mycotoxins deoxynivalenol and T-2 toxin promotes transepithelial passage of doxycycline and paromomycin 
The gastrointestinal tract is the first target for the potentially harmful effects of mycotoxins after intake of mycotoxin contaminated food or feed. With deoxynivalenol (DON), T-2 toxin (T-2), fumonisin B1 (FB1) and zearalenone (ZEA) being important Fusarium toxins in the northern hemisphere, this study aimed to investigate in vitro the toxic effect of these mycotoxins on intestinal porcine epithelial cells derived from the jejunum (IPEC-J2 cells). Viability of IPEC-J2 cells as well as the proportion of apoptotic and necrotic IPEC-J2 cells was determined by flow cytometry after 72 h of exposure to the toxins. Correlatively, the integrity of the intestinal epithelial cell monolayer was studied using Transwell® inserts, in which the trans-epithelial electrical resistance (TEER) and passage of the antibiotics doxycycline and paromomycin were used as endpoints.
We demonstrated that the percentage of Annexin-V-FITC and PI negative (viable) cells, Annexin-V-FITC positive and PI negative (apoptotic) cells and Annexin-V-FITC and PI positive (necrotic) IPEC-J2 cells showed a mycotoxin concentration-dependent relationship with T-2 toxin being the most toxic. Moreover, the ratio between Annexin-V-FITC positive and PI negative cells and Annexin-V-FITC and PI positive cells varied depending on the type of toxin. More Annexin-V-FITC and PI positive cells could be found after treatment with T-2 toxin, while more Annexin-V-FITC positive and PI negative cells were found after exposure to DON. Consistent with the cytotoxicity results, both DON and T-2 decreased TEER and increased cellular permeability to doxycycline and paromomycin in a time- and concentration-dependent manner.
It was concluded that Fusarium mycotoxins may severely disturb the intestinal epithelial barrier and promote passage of antibiotics.
PMCID: PMC3548726  PMID: 23244712
Mycotoxins; Cytotoxicity; Flow cytometry; Permeability; Intestinal cells
7.  Antibacterial therapeutics for the treatment of chytrid infection in amphibians: Columbus’s egg? 
The establishment of safe and effective protocols to treat chytridiomycosis in amphibians is urgently required. In this study, the usefulness of antibacterial agents to clear chytridiomycosis from infected amphibians was evaluated.
Florfenicol, sulfamethoxazole, sulfadiazine and the combination of trimethoprim and sulfonamides were active in vitro against cultures of five Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis strains containing sporangia and zoospores, with minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) of 0.5-1.0 μg/ml for florfenicol and 8.0 μg/ml for the sulfonamides. Trimethoprim was not capable of inhibiting growth but, combined with sulfonamides, reduced the time to visible growth inhibition by the sulfonamides. Growth inhibition of B. dendrobatidis was not observed after exposure to clindamycin, doxycycline, enrofloxacin, paromomycin, polymyxin E and tylosin. Cultures of sporangia and zoospores of B. dendrobatidis strains JEL423 and IA042 were killed completely after 14 days of exposure to 100 μg/ml florfenicol or 16 μg/ml trimethoprim combined with 80 μg/ml sulfadiazine. These concentrations were, however, not capable of efficiently killing zoospores within 4 days after exposure as assessed using flow cytometry. Florfenicol concentrations remained stable in a bathing solution during a ten day period. Exposure of Discoglossus scovazzi tadpoles for ten days to 100 μg/ml but not to 10 μg florfenicol /ml water resulted in toxicity. In an in vivo trial, post metamorphic Alytes muletensis, experimentally inoculated with B. dendrobatidis, were treated topically with a solution containing 10 μg/ml of florfenicol during 14 days. Although a significant reduction of the B. dendrobatidis load was obtained, none of the treated animals cleared the infection.
We thus conclude that, despite marked anti B. dendrobatidis activity in vitro, the florfenicol treatment used is not capable of eliminating B. dendrobatidis infections from amphibians.
PMCID: PMC3488559  PMID: 23009707
8.  Germ Tube Mediated Invasion of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in Amphibian Skin Is Host Dependent 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e41481.
Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is the causative agent of chytridiomycosis, a fungal skin disease in amphibians and driver of worldwide amphibian declines.
We focussed on the early stages of infection by Bd in 3 amphibian species with a differential susceptibility to chytridiomycosis. Skin explants of Alytes muletensis, Litoria caerulea and Xenopus leavis were exposed to Bd in an Ussing chamber for 3 to 5 days. Early interactions of Bd with amphibian skin were observed using light microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. To validate the observations in vitro, comparison was made with skin from experimentally infected frogs. Additional in vitro experiments were performed to elucidate the process of intracellular colonization in L. caerulea.
Early interactions of Bd with amphibian skin are: attachment of zoospores to host skin, zoospore germination, germ tube development, penetration into skin cells, invasive growth in the host skin, resulting in the loss of host cell cytoplasm. Inoculation of A. muletensis and L. caerulea skin was followed within 24 h by endobiotic development, with sporangia located intracellularly in the skin. Evidence is provided of how intracellular colonization is established and how colonization by Bd proceeds to deeper skin layers. Older thalli develop rhizoid-like structures that spread to deeper skin layers, form a swelling inside the host cell to finally give rise to a new thallus.
In X. laevis, interaction of Bd with skin was limited to an epibiotic state, with sporangia developing upon the skin. Only the superficial epidermis was affected. Epidermal cells seemed to be used as a nutrient source without development of intracellular thalli. The in vitro data agreed with the results obtained after experimental infection of the studied frog species. These data suggest that the colonization strategy of B. dendrobatidis is host dependent, with the extent of colonization most likely determined by inherent characteristics of the host epidermis.
PMCID: PMC3401113  PMID: 22911798
9.  Novel Chlamydiaceae Disease in Captive Salamanders 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2012;18(6):1020-1022.
PMCID: PMC3358148  PMID: 22608291
Chlamydiales; Urodelans; Candidatus Amphibiichlamydia salamandrae; Neurergus sp.; Salamandra sp.; bacteria; salamander; amphibian; chlamydia
10.  Waterfowl: Potential Environmental Reservoirs of the Chytrid Fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e35038.
Infections with Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (B. dendrobatidis), the causal agent of chytridiomycosis, have been shown to play an important role in the decline of amphibians worldwide. Spread of the fungus is poorly understood. Bird movement might possibly contribute to the spread of B. dendrobatidis in the environment. Therefore, 397 wild geese in Belgium were screened for presence of B. dendrobatidis on their toes using real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR). In addition, chemotaxis towards, adhesion, survival after desiccation and proliferation of B. dendrobatidis on keratinous toe scales from waterfowl were examined in vitro. qPCR revealed that 76 geese (15%) were positive for B. dendrobatidis. Results of the in vitro tests showed that B. dendrobatidis is attracted to the keratinous toes of aquatic birds on which they can adhere and even proliferate. However, desiccation is poorly tolerated. This suggests waterfowl are potential environmental reservoirs for B. dendrobatidis.
PMCID: PMC3325947  PMID: 22514705
11.  Influence of Mycotoxins and a Mycotoxin Adsorbing Agent on the Oral Bioavailability of Commonly Used Antibiotics in Pigs 
Toxins  2012;4(4):281-295.
It is recognized that mycotoxins can cause a variety of adverse health effects in animals, including altered gastrointestinal barrier function. It is the aim of the present study to determine whether mycotoxin-contaminated diets can alter the oral bioavailability of the antibiotics doxycycline and paromomycin in pigs, and whether a mycotoxin adsorbing agent included into diets interacts with those antibiotics. Experiments were conducted with pigs utilizing diets that contained blank feed, mycotoxin-contaminated feed (T-2 toxin or deoxynivalenol), mycotoxin-contaminated feed supplemented with a glucomannan mycotoxin binder, or blank feed supplemented with mycotoxin binder. Diets with T-2 toxin and binder or deoxynivalenol and binder induced increased plasma concentrations of doxycycline administered as single bolus in pigs compared to diets containing blank feed. These results suggest that complex interactions may occur between mycotoxins, mycotoxin binders, and antibiotics which could alter antibiotic bioavailability. This could have consequences for animal toxicity, withdrawal time for oral antibiotics, or public health.
PMCID: PMC3347004  PMID: 22606377
mycotoxins; mycotoxin binder; antibiotics; pigs; interaction; safety testing
12.  Vaccination reduces macrophage infiltration in bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue in pigs infected with a highly virulent Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae strain 
Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae is the causative agent of enzootic pneumonia and is responsible for significant economic losses to the pig industry. To better understand the mode of action of a commercial, adjuvanted, inactivated whole cell vaccine and the influence of diversity on the efficacy of vaccination, we investigated samples from vaccinated and non-vaccinated pigs experimentally infected with either a low (LV) or a highly virulent (HV) M. hyopneumoniae strain. Non-vaccinated and sham-infected control groups were included. Lung tissue samples collected at 4 and 8 weeks post infection (PI) were immunohistochemically tested for the presence of T-lymphocytes, B-lymphocytes and macrophages in the bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue (BALT). The number of M. hyopneumoniae organisms in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid was determined using quantitative PCR at 4 and 8 weeks PI. Serum antibodies against M. hyopneumoniae were determined at 0, 2, 4, 6 and 8 weeks PI.
The immunostaining revealed a lower density of macrophages in the BALT of the vaccinated groups compared to the non-vaccinated groups. The highest number of M. hyopneumoniae organisms in the BAL fluid was measured at 4 weeks PI for the HV strain and at 8 weeks PI for the LV strain. Vaccination reduced the number of organisms non-significantly, though for the HV strain the reduction was clinically more relevant than for the LV strain. At the level of the individual pigs, a higher lung lesion score was associated with more M. hyopneumoniae organisms in the lungs and a higher density of the investigated immune cells in the BALT.
In conclusion, the infiltration of macrophages after infection with M. hyopneumoniae is reduced by vaccination. The M. hyopneumoniae replication in the lungs is also reduced in vaccinated pigs, though the HV strain is inhibited more than the LV strain.
PMCID: PMC3349615  PMID: 22409839
13.  Effect of challenge of pigs previously immunised with inactivated vaccines containing homologous and heterologous Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae strains 
Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae is the primary cause of enzootic pneumonia in pigs. Although vaccination is an important control tool, the results observed under field conditions are variable. This may be due to antigenic differences between the strains circulating in pig herds and the vaccine strain. This study compared the protective efficacy of four bacterins against challenge infection with a highly virulent field strain of M. hyopneumoniae.
Seventy eight, one-week old piglets were randomly assigned to five treatment groups (A, B, C, D, E), 14 piglets each, and a negative control group (F) consisting of 8 piglets. All pigs were injected at 1 (D7) and 4 weeks of age (D28), with 2 ml of either a placebo or a bacterin based on selected M. hyopneumoniae strains, namely A (F7.2C), B (F20.1L), C (B2V1W20 1A-F), D (J strain), E (placebo; positive control), F (placebo; negative control). At D56, all pigs except those of group F were challenged intratracheally with 7 ml culture medium containing 107 CCU/ml of M. hyopneumoniae strain F7.2C. All pigs were euthanized and necropsied at D84. The severity of coughing and pneumonia lesions were the main parameters. Immunofluorescence (IF) testing, nested PCR testing of bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid and serology for M. hyopneumoniae were also performed.
The different bacterins only slightly improved clinical symptoms (average 0.38 in vaccinated groups vs. 0.45 in group E) and histopathological lung lesions (average 3.20 in vaccinated groups vs. 3.45 in group E), but did not improve macroscopic lung lesions (score 4.30 vs. 4.03 in group E). None of the vaccines was significantly and/or consistently better or worse than the other ones. All bacterins evoked a serological response in the vaccinated animals. All pigs, except those from group F, were positive with nPCR in BAL fluid at D84.
The bacterins did not induce a clear overall protection against challenge infection, and there were no significant differences in protective efficacy between bacterins containing homologous and heterologous M. hyopneumoniae strains. Further research is necessary to better characterize the antigens involved in protection and to elucidate the protective immunity responses following M. hyopneumoniae vaccination and/or infection.
PMCID: PMC3269371  PMID: 22225838
14.  T-2 toxin induced Salmonella Typhimurium intoxication results in decreased Salmonella numbers in the cecum contents of pigs, despite marked effects on Salmonella-host cell interactions 
Veterinary Research  2012;43(1):22.
The mycotoxin T-2 toxin and Salmonella Typhimurium infections pose a significant threat to human and animal health. Interactions between both agents may result in a different outcome of the infection. Therefore, the aim of the presented study was to investigate the effects of low and relevant concentrations of T-2 toxin on the course of a Salmonella Typhimurium infection in pigs. We showed that the presence of 15 and 83 μg T-2 toxin per kg feed significantly decreased the amount of Salmonella Typhimurium bacteria present in the cecum contents, and a tendency to a reduced colonization of the jejunum, ileum, cecum, colon and colon contents was noticed. In vitro, proteomic analysis of porcine enterocytes revealed that a very low concentration of T-2 toxin (5 ng/mL) affects the protein expression of mitochondrial, endoplasmatic reticulum and cytoskeleton associated proteins, proteins involved in protein synthesis and folding, RNA synthesis, mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling and regulatory processes. Similarly low concentrations (1-100 ng/mL) promoted the susceptibility of porcine macrophages and intestinal epithelial cells to Salmonella Typhimurium invasion, in a SPI-1 independent manner. Furthermore, T-2 toxin (1-5 ng/mL) promoted the translocation of Salmonella Typhimurium over an intestinal porcine epithelial cell monolayer. Although these findings may seem in favour of Salmonella Typhimurium, microarray analysis showed that T-2 toxin (5 ng/mL) causes an intoxication of Salmonella Typhimurium, represented by a reduced motility and a downregulation of metabolic and Salmonella Pathogenicity Island 1 genes. This study demonstrates marked interactions of T-2 toxin with Salmonella Typhimurium pathogenesis, resulting in bacterial intoxication.
PMCID: PMC3362764  PMID: 22440148
15.  Salmonella Typhimurium induces SPI-1 and SPI-2 regulated and strain dependent downregulation of MHC II expression on porcine alveolar macrophages 
Veterinary Research  2012;43(1):52.
Foodborne salmonellosis is one of the most important bacterial zoonotic diseases worldwide. Salmonella Typhimurium is the serovar most frequently isolated from persistently infected slaughter pigs in Europe. Circumvention of the host’s immune system by Salmonella might contribute to persistent infection of pigs. In the present study, we found that Salmonella Typhimurium strain 112910a specifically downregulated MHC II, but not MHC I, expression on porcine alveolar macrophages in a Salmonella pathogenicity island (SPI)-1 and SPI-2 dependent way. Salmonella induced downregulation of MHC II expression and intracellular proliferation of Salmonella in macrophages were significantly impaired after opsonization with Salmonella specific antibodies prior to inoculation. Furthermore, the capacity to downregulate MHC II expression on macrophages differed significantly among Salmonella strains, independently of strain specific differences in invasion capacity, Salmonella induced cytotoxicity and altered macrophage activation status. The fact that strain specific differences in MHC II downregulation did not correlate with the extent of in vitro SPI-1 or SPI-2 gene expression indicates that other factors are involved in MHC II downregulation as well. Since Salmonella strain dependent interference with the pig’s immune response through downregulation of MHC II expression might indicate that certain Salmonella strains are more likely to escape serological detection, our findings are of major interest for Salmonella monitoring programs primarily based on serology.
PMCID: PMC3403916  PMID: 22694285
16.  Germination of Aspergillus fumigatus inside avian respiratory macrophages is associated with cytotoxicity 
Veterinary Research  2012;43(1):32.
Although aspergillosis is one of the most common diseases in captive birds, the pathogenesis of avian aspergillosis is poorly known. We studied the role of avian respiratory macrophages as a first line of defense against avian aspergillosis. The phagocytic and killing capacities of avian respiratory macrophages were evaluated using pigeon respiratory macrophages that were inoculated with Aspergillus fumigatus conidia. On average, 25% of macrophage-associated conidia were phagocytosed after one hour. Sixteen percents of these cell-associated conidia were killed after 4 h and conidial germination was inhibited in more than 95% of the conidia. A. fumigatus conidia were shown to be cytotoxic to the macrophages. Intracellularly germinating conidia were located free in the cytoplasm of necrotic cells, as shown using transmission electron microscopy. These results suggest that avian respiratory macrophages may prevent early establishment of infection, unless the number of A. fumigatus conidia exceeds the macrophage killing capacity, leading to intracellular germination and colonization of the respiratory tract.
PMCID: PMC3414738  PMID: 22515231
17.  The local immune response of mice after Helicobacter suis infection: strain differences and distinction with Helicobacter pylori 
Veterinary Research  2012;43(1):75.
Helicobacter (H.) suis colonizes the stomach of pigs and is the most prevalent gastric non-H. pylori Helicobacter species in humans. Limited information is available on host immune responses after infection with this agent and it is unknown if variation in virulence exists between different H. suis strains. Therefore, BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice were used to compare colonization ability and gene expression of various inflammatory cytokines, as determined by real-time PCR, after experimental infection with 9 different H. suis strains. All strains were able to persist in the stomach of mice, but the number of colonizing bacteria at 59 days post inoculation was higher in stomachs of C57BL/6 mice compared to BALB/c mice. All H. suis strains caused an upregulation of interleukin (IL)-17, which was more pronounced in BALB/c mice. This upregulation was inversely correlated with the number of colonizing bacteria. Most strains also caused an upregulation of regulatory IL-10, positively correlating with colonization in BALB/c mice. Only in C57BL/6 mice, upregulation of IL-1β was observed. Increased levels of IFN-γ mRNA were never detected, whereas most H. suis strains caused an upregulation of the Th2 signature cytokine IL-4, mainly in BALB/c mice. In conclusion, the genetic background of the murine strain has a clear impact on the colonization ability of different H. suis strains and the immune response they evoke. A predominant Th17 response was observed, accompanied by a mild Th2 response, which is different from the Th17/Th1 response evoked by H. pylori infection.
PMCID: PMC3537685  PMID: 23107128
18.  Immunization with the immunodominant Helicobacter suis urease subunit B induces partial protection against H. suis infection in a mouse model 
Veterinary Research  2012;43(1):72.
Helicobacter (H.) suis is a porcine and human gastric pathogen. Previous studies in mice showed that an H. suis infection does not result in protective immunity, whereas immunization with H. suis whole-cell lysate (lysate) protects against a subsequent experimental infection. Therefore, two-dimensional gel electrophoresis of H. suis proteins was performed followed by immunoblotting with pooled sera from H. suis- infected mice or mice immunized with lysate. Weak reactivity against H. suis proteins was observed in post-infection sera. Sera from lysate-immunized mice, however, showed immunoreactivity against a total of 19 protein spots which were identified using LC-MS/MS. The H. suis urease subunit B (UreB) showed most pronounced reactivity against sera from lysate-immunized mice and was not detected with sera from infected mice. None of the pooled sera detected H. suis neutrophil-activating protein A (NapA). The protective efficacy of intranasal vaccination of BALB/c mice with H. suis UreB and NapA, both recombinantly expressed in Escherichia coli (rUreB and rNapA, respectively), was compared with that of H. suis lysate. All vaccines contained choleratoxin as adjuvant. Immunization of mice with rUreB and lysate induced a significant reduction of H. suis colonization compared to non-vaccinated H. suis-infected controls, whereas rNapA had no significant protective effect. Probably, a combination of local Th1 and Th17 responses, complemented by antibody responses play a role in the protective immunity against H. suis infections.
PMCID: PMC3542004  PMID: 23101660
19.  Ranavirosis in Invasive Bullfrogs, Belgium 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2011;17(12):2371-2372.
PMCID: PMC3311206  PMID: 22172553
ranavirus; ranavirosis; Lithobates catesbeianus; invasive species; viruses; bullfrogs
20.  The Mycotoxin Deoxynivalenol Potentiates Intestinal Inflammation by Salmonella Typhimurium in Porcine Ileal Loops 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(8):e23871.
Background and Aims
Both deoxynivalenol (DON) and nontyphoidal salmonellosis are emerging threats with possible hazardous effects on both human and animal health. The objective of this study was to examine whether DON at low but relevant concentrations interacts with the intestinal inflammation induced by Salmonella Typhimurium.
By using a porcine intestinal ileal loop model, we investigated whether intake of low concentrations of DON interacts with the early intestinal inflammatory response induced by Salmonella Typhimurium.
A significant higher expression of IL-12 and TNFα and a clear potentiation of the expression of IL-1β, IL-8, MCP-1 and IL-6 was seen in loops co-exposed to 1 µg/mL of DON and Salmonella Typhimurium compared to loops exposed to Salmonella Typhimurium alone. This potentiation coincided with a significantly enhanced Salmonella invasion in and translocation over the intestinal epithelial IPEC-J2 cells, exposed to non-cytotoxic concentrations of DON for 24 h. Exposure of Salmonella Typhimurium to 0.250 µg/mL of DON affected the bacterial gene expression level of a limited number of genes, however none of these expression changes seemed to give an explanation for the increased invasion and translocation of Salmonella Typhimurium and the potentiated inflammatory response in combination with DON.
These data imply that the intake of low and relevant concentrations of DON renders the intestinal epithelium more susceptible to Salmonella Typhimurium with a subsequent potentiation of the inflammatory response in the gut.
PMCID: PMC3166085  PMID: 21909370
21.  Tissue-Specific Salmonella Typhimurium Gene Expression during Persistence in Pigs 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(8):e24120.
Salmonellosis caused by Salmonella Typhimurium is one of the most important bacterial zoonotic diseases. The bacterium persists in pigs resulting in asymptomatic ‘carrier pigs’, generating a major source for Salmonella contamination of pork. Until now, very little is known concerning the mechanisms used by Salmonella Typhimurium during persistence in pigs. Using in vivo expression technology (IVET), a promoter-trap method based on ΔpurA attenuation of the parent strain, we identified 37 Salmonella Typhimurium genes that were expressed 3 weeks post oral inoculation in the tonsils, ileum and ileocaecal lymph nodes of pigs. Several genes were expressed in all three analyzed organs, while other genes were only expressed in one or two organs. Subsequently, the identified IVET transformants were pooled and reintroduced in pigs to detect tissue-specific gene expression patterns. We found that efp and rpoZ were specifically expressed in the ileocaecal lymph nodes during Salmonella peristence in pigs. Furthermore, we compared the persistence ability of substitution mutants for the IVET-identified genes sifB and STM4067 to that of the wild type in a mixed infection model. The ΔSTM4067::kanR was significantly attenuated in the ileum contents, caecum and caecum contents and faeces of pigs 3 weeks post inoculation, while deletion of the SPI-2 effector gene sifB did not affect Salmonella Typhimurium persistence. Although our list of identified genes is not exhaustive, we found that efp and rpoZ were specifically expressed in the ileocaecal lymph nodes of pigs and we identified STM4067 as a factor involved in Salmonella persistence in pigs. To our knowledge, our study is the first to identify Salmonella Typhimurium genes expressed during persistence in pigs.
PMCID: PMC3161100  PMID: 21887378
22.  Genome sequence of Helicobacter suis supports its role in gastric pathology 
Veterinary Research  2011;42(1):51.
Helicobacter (H.) suis has been associated with chronic gastritis and ulcers of the pars oesophagea in pigs, and with gastritis, peptic ulcer disease and gastric mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma in humans. In order to obtain better insight into the genes involved in pathogenicity and in the specific adaptation to the gastric environment of H. suis, a genome analysis was performed of two H. suis strains isolated from the gastric mucosa of swine. Homologs of the vast majority of genes shown to be important for gastric colonization of the human pathogen H. pylori were detected in the H. suis genome. H. suis encodes several putative outer membrane proteins, of which two similar to the H. pylori adhesins HpaA and HorB. H. suis harbours an almost complete comB type IV secretion system and members of the type IV secretion system 3, but lacks most of the genes present in the cag pathogenicity island of H. pylori. Homologs of genes encoding the H. pylori neutrophil-activating protein and γ-glutamyl transpeptidase were identified in H. suis. H. suis also possesses several other presumptive virulence-associated genes, including homologs for mviN, the H. pylori flavodoxin gene, and a homolog of the H. pylori vacuolating cytotoxin A gene. It was concluded that although genes coding for some important virulence factors in H. pylori, such as the cytotoxin-associated protein (CagA), are not detected in the H. suis genome, homologs of other genes associated with colonization and virulence of H. pylori and other bacteria are present.
PMCID: PMC3065412  PMID: 21414191
23.  Colonization factors of Campylobacter jejuni in the chicken gut 
Veterinary Research  2011;42(1):82.
Campylobacter contaminated broiler chicken meat is an important source of foodborne gastroenteritis and poses a serious health burden in industrialized countries. Broiler chickens are commonly regarded as a natural host for this zoonotic pathogen and infected birds carry a very high C. jejuni load in their gastrointestinal tract, especially the ceca. This eventually results in contaminated carcasses during processing. Current intervention methods fail to reduce the colonization of broiler chicks by C. jejuni due to an incomplete understanding on the interaction between C. jejuni and its avian host. Clearly, C. jejuni developed several survival and colonization mechanisms which are responsible for its highly adapted nature to the chicken host. But how these mechanisms interact with one another, leading to persistent, high-level cecal colonization remains largely obscure. A plethora of mutagenesis studies in the past few years resulted in the identification of several of the genes and proteins of C. jejuni involved in different aspects of the cellular response of this bacterium in the chicken gut. In this review, a thorough, up-to-date overview will be given of the survival mechanisms and colonization factors of C. jejuni identified to date. These factors may contribute to our understanding on how C. jejuni survival and colonization in chicks is mediated, as well as provide potential targets for effective subunit vaccine development.
PMCID: PMC3156733  PMID: 21714866
24.  Stress induced Salmonella Typhimurium recrudescence in pigs coincides with cortisol induced increased intracellular proliferation in macrophages 
Veterinary Research  2011;42(1):118.
Salmonella Typhimurium infections in pigs often result in the development of carriers that intermittently excrete Salmonella in very low numbers. During periods of stress, for example transport to the slaughterhouse, recrudescence of Salmonella may occur, but the mechanism of this stress related recrudescence is poorly understood. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to determine the role of the stress hormone cortisol in Salmonella recrudescence by pigs. We showed that a 24 h feed withdrawal increases the intestinal Salmonella Typhimurium load in pigs, which is correlated with increased serum cortisol levels. A second in vivo trial demonstrated that stress related recrudescence of Salmonella Typhimurium in pigs can be induced by intramuscular injection of dexamethasone. Furthermore, we found that cortisol, but not epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine, promotes intracellular proliferation of Salmonella Typhimurium in primary porcine alveolar macrophages, but not in intestinal epithelial cells and a transformed cell line of porcine alveolar macrophages. A microarray based transcriptomic analysis revealed that cortisol did not directly affect the growth or the gene expression or Salmonella Typhimurium in a rich medium, which implies that the enhanced intracellular proliferation of the bacterium is probably caused by an indirect effect through the cell. These results highlight the role of cortisol in the recrudescence of Salmonella Typhimurium by pigs and they provide new evidence for the role of microbial endocrinology in host-pathogen interactions.
PMCID: PMC3256119  PMID: 22151081
25.  Helicobacter suis Causes Severe Gastric Pathology in Mouse and Mongolian Gerbil Models of Human Gastric Disease 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(11):e14083.
“Helicobacter (H.) heilmannii” type 1 is the most prevalent gastric non-H. pylori Helicobacter species in humans suffering from gastric disease. It has been shown to be identical to H. suis, a bacterium which is mainly associated with pigs. To obtain better insights into the long-term pathogenesis of infections with this micro-organism, experimental infections were carried out in different rodent models.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Mongolian gerbils and mice of two strains (BALB/c and C57BL/6) were infected with H. suis and sacrificed at 3 weeks, 9 weeks and 8 months after infection. Gastric tissue samples were collected for PCR analysis, histological and ultrastructural examination. In gerbils, bacteria mainly colonized the antrum and a narrow zone in the fundus near the forestomach/stomach transition zone. In both mice strains, bacteria colonized the entire glandular stomach. Colonization with H. suis was associated with necrosis of parietal cells in all three animal strains. From 9 weeks after infection onwards, an increased proliferation rate of mucosal epithelial cells was detected in the stomach regions colonized with H. suis. Most gerbils showed a marked lymphocytic infiltration in the antrum and in the forestomach/stomach transition zone, becoming more pronounced in the course of time. At 8 months post infection, severe destruction of the normal antral architecture at the inflamed sites and development of mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphoma-like lesions were observed in some gerbils. In mice, the inflammatory response was less pronounced than in gerbils, consisting mainly of mononuclear cell infiltration and being most severe in the fundus.
H. suis causes death of parietal cells, epithelial cell hyperproliferation and severe inflammation in mice and Mongolian gerbil models of human gastric disease. Moreover, MALT lymphoma-like lesions were induced in H. suis-infected Mongolian gerbils. Therefore, the possible involvement of this micro-organism in human gastric disease should not be neglected.
PMCID: PMC2989923  PMID: 21124878

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