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1.  Overall Decrease in the Susceptibility of Mycoplasma bovis to Antimicrobials over the Past 30 Years in France 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e87672.
Mycoplasma (M.) bovis is frequently implicated in respiratory diseases of young cattle worldwide. Today, to combat M. bovis in Europe, only antimicrobial therapy is available, but often fails, leading to important economical losses. The antimicrobial susceptibility of M. bovis is not covered by antimicrobial resistance surveillance networks. The objectives of this study were to identify resistances that were acquired over the last 30 years in France and to determine their prevalence within comtemporary strains. The minimum inhibition concentration (MIC) values of 12 antimicrobials, considered active on M. bovis, were compared, using an agar dilution method, between 27 and 46 M. bovis isolates respectively obtained in 1978–1979 and in 2010–2012 from 73 distinct respiratory disease outbreaks in young cattle all over France. For eight antimicrobials, resistances were proven to be acquired over the period and expressed by all contemporary strains. The increase of the MIC value that inhibited 50% of the isolates (MIC50) was: i) substantial for tylosin, tilmicosin, tulathromycin and spectinomycin, from 2 to >64, 2 to >128, 16 to 128 and 4 to >64 µg/mL, respectively, ii) moderate for enrofloxacin, danofloxacin, marbofloxacin and oxytetracycline, from 0.25 to 0.5, 0.25 to 0.5, 0.5 to 1, 32 to >32 µg/mL, respectively. No differences were observed for gamithromycin, tildipirosin, florfenicol and valnemulin with MIC50 of 128, 128, 8, <0.03 µg/mL, respectively. If referring to breakpoint MIC values published for respiratory bovine pathogens, all contemporary isolates would be intermediate in vivo for fluoroquinolones and resistant to macrolides, oxytetracycline, spectinomycin and florfenicol.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0087672
PMCID: PMC3913625  PMID: 24503775
2.  Comparative assessment of two commonly used commercial ELISA tests for the serological diagnosis of contagious agalactia of small ruminants caused by Mycoplasma agalactiae 
Background
Contagious agalactia (CA) of sheep and goats caused by Mycoplasma agalactiae is a widely occurring economically important disease that is difficult to control. The ELISA is commonly used for the serological detection of CA but it has some limitations and the performance of the available tests have not been properly evaluated.
Two commercial ELISA kits are widely used, one involving a fusion protein as target antigen and the other a total antigen. The objectives were to compare these tests by evaluating:
i. Their diagnostic sensitivity and specificity, the relevance of the recommended cut-off points, the correlation between the two tests, and, the correlation between serology data and the milk shedding of M. agalatiae;
ii. The influence of extrinsic factors such as the targeted animal species, geographical origin of the samples, intra-specific variability of M. agalactiae and concurrent mycoplasma infections.
A sample of 5900 animals from 211 farms with continuous CA monitoring for 20 years and no prior vaccination history was used. The infection status was known from prior bacteriological, epidemiological and serological monitoring with a complementary immunoblotting test.
Results
The average diagnostic sensitivity was 56% [51.8–59.8] for the fusion protein ELISA and 84% [81.3–87.2] for the total antigen ELISA, with noteworthy flock-related variations. The average diagnostic specificity for the fusion protein ELISA was 100% [99.9–100], and for the total antigen ELISA differed significantly between goats and sheep: 99.3% [97.4–99.9] and 95.7% [93.8–97.2] respectively.
Experimental inoculations with different M. agalactiae strains revealed that the ELISA kits poorly detected the antibody response to certain strains. Furthermore, test performances varied according to the host species or geographical origin of the samples.
Finally, the correlation between milk shedding of M. agalactiae and the presence of detectable antibodies in the blood was poor.
Conclusions
These serological tests are not interchangeable. The choice of a test will depend on the objectives (early detection of infection or disease control program), on the prevalence of infection and the control protocol used. Given the variety of factors that may influence performance, a preliminary assessment of the test in a given situation is recommended prior to widespread use.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-109
PMCID: PMC3439703  PMID: 22776779
3.  Mycoplasmoses of ruminants in France: recent data from the national surveillance network 
Background
Ruminant mycoplasmoses are important diseases worldwide and several are listed by the World Organization for Animal Health to be of major economic significance. In France the distribution of mycoplasmal species isolated from clinical samples collected from diseased animals upon veterinary request, is monitored by a network known as VIGIMYC (for VIGIlance to MYCoplasmoses of ruminants). The veterinary diagnostic laboratories collaborating with VIGIMYC are responsible for isolating the mycoplasmas while identification of the isolates is centralized by the French Food Safety Agency (AFSSA) in Lyon. The VIGIMYC framework can also be used for specific surveys and one example, on the prevalence of M. bovis in bovine respiratory diseases, is presented here.
Results
Between 2003 and 2008, 34 laboratories were involved in the network and 1904 mycoplasma isolates, originating from the main ruminant-breeding areas, were identified. For cattle, the high prevalence of M. bovis in bronchopneumonia, notably in young animals, was confirmed by VIGIMYC and an associated specific survey, whereas the non-emergence of species such as M. alkalescens and M. canis was also demonstrated. The etiological agent of bovine contagious pleuropneumonia was never isolated. The principal mycoplasmosis in goats was contagious agalactia with M. mycoides subsp. capri as main agent. Ovine mycoplasmoses, most of which were associated with pneumonia in lambs, were infrequently reported. One exception was ovine contagious agalactia (due to M. agalactiae) that has recently re-emerged in the Pyrénées where it had been endemic for years and was also reported in Corsica, which was previously considered free.
Conclusions
Although VIGIMYC is a passive network and somewhat biased as regards sample collection and processing, it has provided, in this study, an overview of the main mycoplasmoses of ruminants in France. The French epidemiological situation is compared to those existing elsewhere in the world.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-6-32
PMCID: PMC2892444  PMID: 20525406
4.  Development of a Recombinant Antigen for Antibody-Based Diagnosis of Mycoplasma bovis Infection in Cattle 
Mycoplasma bovis induces various clinical manifestations in cattle, such as mastitis, arthritis, and pneumonia. We have evaluated the immunoreactivity of three variable surface proteins (Vsps) of M. bovis, namely VspA, VspB, and VspC, with sera collected from herds with mycoplasmosis or from cattle experimentally infected with M. bovis. Western blot analysis revealed that the Vsps are the predominant antigens recognized by the host humoral response during M. bovis infection. The immunoreactivity of VspA, VspB, and VspC with host antibodies was independent of the clinical manifestations, the geographical origin of the M. bovis isolates, the mode of infection, and the animal’s history. Moreover, the results showed that Vsp-specific host antibodies can be detected about 10 days after experimental infection and for up to several months. The full-length or truncated versions of the VspA product were overexpressed in Escherichia coli as fusion proteins (FP-VspA). Recombinant products showed strong immunoreactivity with the Vsp-specific monoclonal antibodies 1A1 and 1E5, with the corresponding epitopes localized at the VspA N-terminal and C-terminal ends, respectively. Anti-M. bovis sera of cattle naturally or experimentally infected also strongly recognized the full-length FP-VspA. The seroreactivity of sera collected from cattle between 6 and 10 days after experimental infection was weaker with truncated versions of VspA lacking the 1E5 epitope than with the full-length VspA or the truncated versions lacking the 1A1 epitope. Overall, the results indicate that the Vsps, despite their inter- and intraclonal variability, may be applied as target antigens in serodiagnostic assays for epidemiological studies.
PMCID: PMC95789  PMID: 10548577
5.  Characterization of Free Exopolysaccharides Secreted by Mycoplasma mycoides Subsp. mycoides 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e68373.
Contagious bovine pleuropneumonia is a severe respiratory disease of cattle that is caused by a bacterium of the Mycoplasma genus, namely Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. mycoides (Mmm). In the absence of classical virulence determinants, the pathogenicity of Mmm is thought to rely on intrinsic metabolic functions and specific components of the outer cell surface. One of these latter, the capsular polysaccharide galactan has been notably demonstrated to play a role in Mmm persistence and dissemination. The free exopolysaccharides (EPS), also produced by Mmm and shown to circulate in the blood stream of infected cattle, have received little attention so far. Indeed, their characterization has been hindered by the presence of polysaccharide contaminants in the complex mycoplasma culture medium. In this study, we developed a method to produce large quantities of EPS by transfer of mycoplasma cells from their complex broth to a chemically defined medium and subsequent purification. NMR analyses revealed that the purified, free EPS had an identical β(1−>6)-galactofuranosyl structure to that of capsular galactan. We then analyzed intraclonal Mmm variants that produce opaque/translucent colonies on agar. First, we demonstrated that colony opacity was related to the production of a capsule, as observed by electron microscopy. We then compared the EPS extracts and showed that the non-capsulated, translucent colony variants produced higher amounts of free EPS than the capsulated, opaque colony variants. This phenotypic variation was associated with an antigenic variation of a specific glucose phosphotransferase permease. Finally, we conducted in silico analyses of candidate polysaccharide biosynthetic pathways in order to decipher the potential link between glucose phosphotransferase permease activity and attachment/release of galactan. The co-existence of variants producing alternative forms of galactan (capsular versus free extracellular galactan) and associated with an antigenic switch constitutes a finely tuned mechanism that may be involved in virulence.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0068373
PMCID: PMC3711806  PMID: 23869216

Results 1-5 (5)