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1.  Equine herpesvirus 2 (EHV-2) infection in thoroughbred horses in Argentina 
Background
Equine herpesvirus 2 is a gamma-herpesvirus that infects horses worldwide. Although EHV-2 has been implicated in immunosuppression in foals, upper respiratory tract disease, conjunctivitis, general malaise and poor performance, its precise role as a pathogen remains uncertain. The purpose of the present study was to analyse the incidence of EHV-2 in an Argentinean horse population and correlate it with age and clinical status of the animals.
Results
A serological study on 153 thoroughbred racing horses confirmed the presence of EHV-2 in the Argentinean equine population. A virus neutralization test showed a total of 79.7 % animals were sero-positive for EHV-2. An increase in antibodies titre with age as well as infection at earlier ages were observed.
EHV-2 was isolated from 2 out of 22 nasal swabs from horses showing respiratory symptoms. The virus grew slowly and showed characteristic cytopathic effect after several blind passages on RK13 cells. The identity of the isolates was confirmed by nested PCR and restriction enzyme assay (REA).
Conclusion
This is the first report on the presence of EHV-2 in Argentina and adds new data to the virus distribution map. Though EHV-2 was isolated from foals showing respiratory symptoms, further studies are needed to unequivocally associate this virus with clinical symptoms.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-1-9
PMCID: PMC1308826  PMID: 16281971
2.  ATP-sensitive potassium channel (KATP channel) expression in the normal canine pancreas and in canine insulinomas 
Background
Pancreatic beta cells express ATP-sensitive potassium (KATP) channels that are needed for normal insulin secretion and are targets for drugs that modulate insulin secretion. The KATP channel is composed of two subunits: a sulfonylurea receptor (SUR 1) and an inward rectifying potassium channel (Kir6.2). KATP channel activity is influenced by the metabolic state of the cell and initiates the ionic events that precede insulin exocytosis. Although drugs that target the KATP channel have the expected effects on insulin secretion in dogs, little is known about molecular aspects of this potassium channel. To learn more about canine beta cell KATP channels, we studied KATP channel expression by the normal canine pancreas and by insulin-secreting tumors of dogs.
Results
Pancreatic tissue from normal dogs and tumor tissue from three dogs with histologically-confirmed insulinomas was examined for expression of KATP channel subunits (SUR1 and Kir6.2) using RT-PCR. Normal canine pancreas expressed SUR1 and Kir6.2 subunits of the KATP channel. The partial nucleotide sequences for SUR1 and Kir6.2 obtained from the normal pancreas showed a high degree of homology to published sequences for other mammalian species. SUR1 and Kir6.2 expression was observed in each of the three canine insulinomas examined. Comparison of short sequences from insulinomas with those obtained from normal pancreas did not reveal any mutations in either SUR1 or Kir6.2 in any of the insulinomas.
Conclusion
Canine pancreatic KATP channels have the same subunit composition as those found in the endocrine pancreases of humans, rats, and mice, suggesting that the canine channel is regulated in a similar fashion as in other species. SUR1 and Kir6.2 expression was found in the three insulinomas examined indicating that unregulated insulin secretion by these tumors does not result from failure to express one or both KATP channel subunits.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-1-8
PMCID: PMC1291378  PMID: 16266437
3.  Porcine Circovirus type 2 (PCV2) causes apoptosis in experimentally inoculated BALB/c mice 
Background
We have previously described microscopic and electron microscopic alterations in lymphoid organs of PCV2 inoculated mice as apoptosis. In this study we wanted to investigate the molecular pathogenetic mechanism of PCV2-induced apoptosis. Eight-week old BALB/c mice were either sham inoculated (control mice) or inoculated intraperitoneally (ip) and intranasally (in) with a single (sPCV mice) or multiple (mPCV mice) doses of PCV2. Four control mice and 4 sPCV mice were sacrificed 7, 14, 28 and 42 days post inoculation (PI). All 4 mPCV mice were sacrificed 42 days PI. Following necropsy, immunohistochemistry for caspase 3 and in-situ TUNEL assay were performed on sections of spleen, lymph nodes, thymus and ileum from control, sPCV and mPCV mice. In addition, total RNA was extracted from spleens of control, sPCV and mPCV mice for simultaneous detection and semiquantitation of bcl-2 homologues and various caspase mRNAs using a multiprobe RNase protection assay system.
Results
PCV2 replicated and was associated with apoptosis in spleens, lymph nodes and Peyer's patches of infected BALB/c mice. Upregulation of caspase 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 11 and 12 and upregulation for the transcripts of apoptosis inhibitors bcl-2, bcl-w and bcl-X and apoptosis promoters' bax, bak and bad was detected in spleens of sPCV and mPCV mice, but not control mice. Apoptosis was further confirmed by light and electron microscopic morphology as well as by positive TUNEL assay and detection of activated caspase 3. PCV2 nucleic acid was detected by in-situ hybridization in the nuclei and cytoplasm of such apoptotic cells.
Conclusion
The data presented here support the hypothesis that PCV2 induces apoptosis mediated through the activation of caspases 8 and 3 in the spleens of infected mice.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-1-7
PMCID: PMC1291377  PMID: 16259631
4.  Metoclopramide-induced central nervous system depression in the chicken 
Background
Metoclopramide is a dopamine D2-receptor antagonist used as an antiemetic and gastroprokinetic agent in man and animals. The drug causes sedation as a side effect in man. Such a sedative action of metoclopramide has not been documented in the chicken as the drug is not used clinically in this species. The present study examines the central nervous system depressant effects of metoclopramide in 7–14 days old broiler chicks.
Results
Injection of metoclopramide at 50, 100 and 200 mg/kg, subcutaneously (s.c.) induced sedation in the chicks in a dose dependent manner. The chicks manifested, within 3.6–19 minutes of metoclopramide injection, signs of sedation characterized by drooping of the head and wings, closed eyelids, reduced motility and decreased distress calls. The duration of sedation ranged between 37.2 to 163.4 minutes. Metoclopramide at 100 and 200 mg/kg induced, within 12.2 and 6.2 minutes, sleep (loss of righting reflex) for 43.8 and 158.6 minutes, respectively. The median effective doses of metoclopramide for induction of sedation and sleep in the chicks were 11 and 53 mg/kg, s.c., respectively. Lower doses of metoclopramide (5 and 10 mg/kg, s.c.) significantly decreased the open-field activity of the chicks and increased the durations of their tonic immobility. All treated-chicks recovered from the central nervous system depressant effect of metoclopramide without any observable adverse effects.
Conclusion
The data suggest that metoclopramide induces central nervous system depression in chicks, and the drug could have potential clinical applications as a sedative-hypnotic agent in avian species not intended for human consumptions.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-1-6
PMCID: PMC1266386  PMID: 16225684
5.  The CD11a partner in Sus scrofa lymphocyte function-associated antigen-1 (LFA-1): mRNA cloning, structure analysis and comparison with mammalian homologues 
Background
Lymphocyte function-associated antigen-1 (LFA-1, CD11a/CD18, alphaLbeta2), the most abundant and widely expressed beta2-integrin, is required for many cellular adhesive interactions during the immune response. Many studies have shown that LFA-1 is centrally involved in the pathogenesis of several diseases caused by Repeats-in-toxin (RTX) -producing bacteria.
Results
The porcine-LFA-1 CD11a (alpha) subunit coding sequence was cloned, sequenced and compared with the available mammalian homologues in this study. Despite some focal differences, it shares all the main characteristics of these latter. Interestingly, as in sheep and humans, an allelic variant with a triplet insertion resulting in an additional Gln-744 was consistently identified, which suggests an allelic polymorphism that might be biologically relevant.
Conclusion
Together with the pig CD18-encoding cDNA, which has been available for a long time, the sequence data provided here will allow the successful expression of porcine CD11a, thus giving the first opportunity to express the Sus scrofa beta2-integrin LFA-1 in vitro as a tool to examine the specificities of inflammation in the porcine species.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-1-5
PMCID: PMC1276801  PMID: 16216120
6.  Molecular characterisation of the caprine (Capra hircus) lymphocyte function-associated antigen-1 alpha subunit-encoding cDNA 
Background
Lymphocyte function-associated antigen-1 (LFA-1, CD11a/CD18, alpha L beta 2) is required for many cellular adhesive interactions during the immune response.
Results
The Capra hircus CD11a-encoding cDNA was sequenced and compared with its human, murine, rat, bovine and ovine counterparts. Despite some focal differences, it shares all the main characteristics of its known mammalian homologues.
Conclusion
Therefore, along with the caprine CD18-encoding cDNA, which has been available for a few months, the sequence data revealed here will allow the Capra hircus LFA-1 expression in vitro as a tool to explore the specificities of inflammation in the caprine species.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-1-4
PMCID: PMC1266385  PMID: 16216116
7.  Selection of ovine housekeeping genes for normalisation by real-time RT-PCR; analysis of PrP gene expression and genetic susceptibility to scrapie 
Background
Cellular prion protein expression is essential for the development of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), and in sheep, genetic susceptibility to scrapie has been associated to PrP gene polymorphisms. To test the hypothetical linkage between PrP gene expression and genetic susceptibility, PrP mRNA levels were measured by real-time RT-PCR in six ovine tissues of animals with different genotypes.
Results
Previous to the PrP gene expression analysis the stability of several housekeeping (HK) genes was assessed in order to select the best ones for relative quantification. The normalisation of gene expression was carried out using a minimum of three HK genes in order to detect small expression differences more accurately than using a single control gene. The expression stability analysis of six HK genes showed a large tissue-associated variation reflecting the existence of tissue-specific factors. Thereby, a specific set of HK genes was required for an accurate normalisation of the PrP gene expression within each tissue. Statistical differences in the normalised PrP mRNA levels were found among the tissues, obtaining the highest expression level in obex, followed by ileum, lymph node, spleen, cerebellum and cerebrum. A tendency towards increased PrP mRNA levels and genetic susceptibility was observed in central nervous system. However, the results did not support the hypothesis that PrP mRNA levels vary between genotypes.
Conclusion
The results on PrP gene expression presented here provide valuable baseline data for future studies on scrapie pathogenesis. On the other hand, the results on stability data of several HK genes reported in this study could prove very useful in other gene expression studies carried out in these relevant ovine tissues.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-1-3
PMCID: PMC1262732  PMID: 16188044
8.  Oral infection with the Salmonella enterica serovar Gallinarum 9R attenuated live vaccine as a model to characterise immunity to fowl typhoid in the chicken 
Background
Salmonella enterica serovar Gallinarum (S. Gallinarum) is the causative agent of fowl typhoid, a severe systemic disease of chickens that results in high mortality amongst infected flocks. Due to its virulence, the immune response to S. Gallinarum is poorly characterised. In this study we have utilised infection by the live attenuated S. Gallinarum 9R vaccine strain in inbred chickens to characterise humoral, cellular and cytokine responses to systemic salmonellosis.
Results
Infection with 9R results in a mild systemic infection. Bacterial clearance at three weeks post infection coincides with increases in circulating anti-Salmonella antibodies, increased T cell proliferation to Salmonella challenge and increased expression of interferon gamma. These responses peak at four weeks post infection, then decline. Only modest increases of expression of the pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-1β were detected early in the infection.
Conclusion
Infection of chickens with the 9R vaccine strain induces a mild form of systemic salmonellosis. This induces both cellular and humoral immune responses, which peak soon after bacterial clearance. Unlike enteric-associated Salmonella infections the immune response is not prolonged, reflecting the absence of persistence of Salmonella in the gastrointestinal tract. The findings here indicate that the use of the S. Gallinarum 9R vaccine strain is an effective model to study immunity to systemic salmonellosis in the chicken and may be employed in further studies to determine which components of the immune response are needed for protection.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-1-2
PMCID: PMC1236940  PMID: 16221297
9.  The color of a Dalmatian's spots: Linkage evidence to support the TYRP1 gene 
Background
The distinctive coat pattern of a Dalmatian is the result of the interaction of several loci. While the encoded function of these genes is not fully understood, it is known the Piebald, Ticking, and Flecking loci interact to produce the Dalmatian's classic pigmented spots on a white background. The color of the pigmented spots in purebred Dalmatians can either be black or liver, but the locus responsible for color determination is unknown. Studies have been conducted to determine the underlying genes involved in coat color determination in the dog, e.g., in the Labrador Retriever, but none to date have addressed black versus liver in the Dalmatian.
Results
A genome scan was conducted in a multi-generational kindred of Dalmatians segregating black and liver spot color. Linkage analysis was performed using a total of 113 polymorphic microsatellite markers from the kindred. Linkage was found between spot color and a single microsatellite marker, FH2319 (LOD = 12.5) on chromosome 11.
Conclusion
The TYRP1 (Brown) locus is located at position 50.1 Mb on chromosome 11, which is approximately 0.4 Mb from marker FH2319. Given the recent characterization of TYRP1 genetic variations in the dog and the linkage evidence reported here, TYRP1 is likely responsible for the spot color variation of black versus liver seen in the Dalmatian.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-1-1
PMCID: PMC1192828  PMID: 16045797

Results 1-9 (9)