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Animal Diseases - Top 30 Publications

Northern Ireland disease surveillance report, January to March 2017.

 Pneumonia in cattle Malignant catarrhal fever in cattle Tumours in sheep Pneumonia in pigs Histomonosis in chickensThese are among matters discussed in the Northern Ireland animal disease surveillance quarterly report for January to March 2017.

Using Molecular Characterization to Support Investigations of Aquatic Facility-Associated Outbreaks of Cryptosporidiosis - Alabama, Arizona, and Ohio, 2016.

Cryptosporidiosis is a nationally notifiable gastrointestinal illness caused by parasitic protozoa of the genus Cryptosporidium, which can cause profuse, watery diarrhea that can last up to 2-3 weeks in immunocompetent patients and can lead to life-threatening wasting and malabsorption in immunocompromised patients. Fecal-oral transmission of Cryptosporidium oocysts, the parasite's infectious life stage, occurs via ingestion of contaminated recreational water, drinking water, or food, or following contact with infected persons or animals, particularly preweaned bovine calves (1). The typical incubation period is 2-10 days. Since 2004, the annual incidence of nationally notified cryptosporidiosis has risen approximately threefold in the United States (1). Cryptosporidium also has emerged as the leading etiology of nationally notified recreational water-associated outbreaks, particularly those associated with aquatic facilities (i.e., physical places that contain one or more aquatic venues [e.g., pools] and support infrastructure) (2). As of February 24, 2017, a total of 13 (54%) of 24 states reporting provisional data detected at least 32 aquatic facility-associated cryptosporidiosis outbreaks in 2016. In comparison, 20 such outbreaks were voluntarily reported to CDC via the National Outbreak Reporting System for 2011, 16 for 2012, 13 for 2013, and 16 for 2014. This report highlights cryptosporidiosis outbreaks associated with aquatic facilities in three states (Alabama, Arizona, and Ohio) in 2016. This report also illustrates the use of CryptoNet, the first U.S. molecularly based surveillance system for a parasitic disease, to further elucidate Cryptosporidium chains of transmission and cryptosporidiosis epidemiology. CryptoNet data can be used to optimize evidence-based prevention strategies. Not swimming when ill with diarrhea is key to preventing and controlling aquatic facility-associated cryptosporidiosis outbreaks (

Antibacterial Activity of 7-Epiclusianone and Its Novel Copper Metal Complex on Streptococcus spp. Isolated from Bovine Mastitis and Their Cytotoxicity in MAC-T Cells.

Mastitis is an inflammation of mammary gland parenchyma that adversely affects bovine health and dairy production worldwide despite significant efforts to eradicate it. The aim of this work was to characterize the antimicrobial activity of 7-epiclusianone (7-epi), a compound extracted from the Rheedia brasiliensis fruit, its complex with copper against Streptococcus spp. isolated from bovine mastitis, and to assess their cytotoxicity to bovine mammary alveolar cells (MAC-T). The complex 7-epiclusianone-Cu (7-epi-Cu) was an amorphous green solid with optical activity. Its vibrational spectrum in the infrared region showed absorption bands in the high-frequency region, as well as bands that can be attributed to the unconjugated and conjugated stretching of the free ligand. The complex was anhydrous. One of the tested bacterial strains was not sensitive to the compounds, while the other three had MIC values of 7.8 µg mL(-1) and minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC) values between 15.6 and 31.3 µg mL(-1). These two compounds are bacteriostatic, did not cause damage to the cell wall and, at sub-inhibitory concentrations, did not induce bacterial adhesion. The compounds were not cytotoxic. Based on these results, 7-epi and 7-epi-Cu exhibited desirable antimicrobial properties and could potentially be used in bovine mastitis treatment.

Comparing the curative efficacy of topical treatment with thiamphenicol and oxytetracycline on digital dermatitis lesions in dairy cattle.

The efficacy of two topically applied antibiotics for the treatment of painful ulcerative stage of bovine digital dermatitis (BDD) lesions was compared in a clinical trial conducted on five dairy farms in the Netherlands during the autumn of 2015. A total of 109 cows with an ulcerative (M2) stage of BDD were randomly appointed a treatment with an antibiotic-based spray. One treatment contained thiamphenicol as active ingredient (TAF). The other treatment had oxytetracycline as active ingredient (ENG). The experimental unit for this study was the hind claw with the presence of an ulcerative BDD lesion. On day 0, claws with ulcerative BDD lesions were trimmed, cleaned, photographed and thereafter treated randomly either with TAF or ENG. Cure was defined as the transition of an ulcerative lesion into a non-painful chronic (M4) or into a healed (M0) stage of BDD at day 28 post-treatment. The cure rate at day 28 of M2 BDD lesions treated with TAF was 89 per cent (95 per cent CI 0.78 to 0.94), and for ENG 75 per cent (95 per cent CI 0.67 to 0.86). So the difference in cure rate was 14 per cent (95 per cent CI 0.00 to 0.27), which was statistically significant. The P value in this experiment is very close to 0.05 indicating that the effect is quite small. If a two-sided test would be used, the small significant effect, in this experiment, will disappear. Overall, the significant better curative effect of TAF on BDD M2 lesions was small, compared with ENG.

Outbreak of toe tip necrosis syndrome in calves.

Toe tip necrosis syndrome in calvesAbortions in embryo recipient gimmers associated with Paecilomyces variotiiAmyloidosis secondary to dosing gun injury in a eweRhinitis and middle ear infection in pigsFungal pneumonia in a duckThese are among matters discussed in the disease surveillance report for January 2017 from SAC Consulting: Veterinary Services (SAC C VS).

In vitro and in vivo assessments of Rhodomyrtus tomentosa leaf extract as an alternative anti-streptococcal agent in Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus L.).

Rhodomyrtustomentosa is a Thai medicinal plant that has been attracting attention for its remarkable antibacterial properties against Gram-positive pathogenic bacteria. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the antibacterial properties of R. tomentosa leaf extract against Streptococcus agalactiae and Streptococcus iniae isolated from infected tilapia.

Development of Isothermal Recombinase Polymerase Amplification Assay for Rapid Detection of Porcine Circovirus Type 2.

Porcine circovirus virus type II (PCV2) is the etiology of postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PMWS), porcine dermatitis, nephropathy syndrome (PDNS), and necrotizing pneumonia. Rapid diagnosis tool for detection of PCV2 plays an important role in the disease control and eradication program. Recombinase polymerase amplification (RPA) assays using a real-time fluorescent detection (PCV2 real-time RPA assay) and RPA combined with lateral flow dipstick (PCV2 RPA LFD assay) were developed targeting the PCV2 ORF2 gene. The results showed that the sensitivity of the PCV2 real-time RPA assay was 10(2) copies per reaction within 20 min at 37°C and the PCV2 RPA LFD assay had a detection limit of 10(2) copies per reaction in less than 20 min at 37°C. Both assays were highly specific for PCV2, with no cross-reactions with porcine circovirus virus type 1, foot-and-mouth disease virus, pseudorabies virus, porcine parvovirus, porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus, and classical swine fever virus. Therefore, the RPA assays provide a novel alternative for simple, sensitive, and specific identification of PCV2.

Impact of body condition on influenza A virus infection dynamics in mallards following a secondary exposure.

Migratory waterfowl are often viewed as vehicles for the global spread of influenza A viruses (IAVs), with mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) implicated as particularly important reservoir hosts. The physical demands and energetic costs of migration have been shown to influence birds' body condition; poorer body condition may suppress immune function and affect the course of IAV infection. Our study evaluated the impact of body condition on immune function and viral shedding dynamics in mallards naturally exposed to an H9 IAV, and then secondarily exposed to an H4N6 IAV. Mallards were divided into three treatment groups of 10 birds per group, with each bird's body condition manipulated as a function of body weight by restricting food availability to achieve either a -10%, -20%, or control body weight class. We found that mallards exhibit moderate heterosubtypic immunity against an H4N6 IAV infection after an infection from an H9 IAV, and that body condition did not have an impact on shedding dynamics in response to a secondary exposure. Furthermore, body condition did not affect aspects of the innate and adaptive immune system, including the acute phase protein haptoglobin, heterophil/lymphocyte ratios, and antibody production. Contrary to recently proposed hypotheses and some experimental evidence, our data do not support relationships between body condition, infection and immunocompetence following a second exposure to IAV in mallards. Consequently, while annual migration may be a driver in the maintenance and spread of IAVs, the energetic demands of migration may not affect susceptibility in mallards.

Molecular characterization of Cryptosporidium and Giardia from the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii).

The Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) is a carnivorous marsupial found only in the wild in Tasmania, Australia. Tasmanian devils are classified as endangered and are currently threatened by devil facial tumour disease, a lethal transmissible cancer that has decimated the wild population in Tasmania. To prevent extinction of Tasmanian devils, conservation management was implemented in 2003 under the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program. This study aimed to assess if conservation management was altering the interactions between Tasmanian devils and their parasites. Molecular tools were used to investigate the prevalence and diversity of two protozoan parasites, Cryptosporidium and Giardia, in Tasmanian devils. A comparison of parasite prevalence between wild and captive Tasmanian devils showed that both Cryptosporidium and Giardia were significantly more prevalent in wild devils (p < 0.05); Cryptosporidium was identified in 37.9% of wild devils but only 10.7% of captive devils, while Giardia was identified in 24.1% of wild devils but only 0.82% of captive devils. Molecular analysis identified the presence of novel genotypes of both Cryptosporidium and Giardia. The novel Cryptosporidium genotype was 98.1% similar at the 18S rDNA to Cryptosporidium varanii (syn. C. saurophilum) with additional samples identified as C. fayeri, C. muris, and C. galli. Two novel Giardia genotypes, TD genotype 1 and TD genotype 2, were similar to G. duodenalis from dogs (94.4%) and a Giardia assemblage A isolate from humans (86.9%). Giardia duodenalis BIV, a zoonotic genotype of Giardia, was also identified in a single captive Tasmanian devil. These findings suggest that conservation management may be altering host-parasite interactions in the Tasmanian devil, and the presence of G. duodenalis BIV in a captive devil points to possible human-devil parasite transmission.

The Diverse Cellular and Animal Models to Decipher the Physiopathological Traits of Mycobacterium abscessus Infection.

Mycobacterium abscessus represents an important respiratory pathogen among the rapidly-growing non-tuberculous mycobacteria. Infections caused by M. abscessus are increasingly found in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients and are often refractory to antibiotic therapy. The underlying immunopathological mechanisms of pathogenesis remain largely unknown. A major reason for the poor advances in M. abscessus research has been a lack of adequate models to study the acute and chronic stages of the disease leading to delayed progress of evaluation of therapeutic efficacy of potentially active antibiotics. However, the recent development of cellular models led to new insights in the interplay between M. abscessus with host macrophages as well as with amoebae, proposed to represent the environmental host and reservoir for non-tuberculous mycobacteria. The zebrafish embryo has also appeared as a useful alternative to more traditional models as it recapitulates the vertebrate immune system and, due to its optical transparency, allows a spatio-temporal visualization of the infection process in a living animal. More sophisticated immunocompromised mice have also been exploited recently to dissect the immune and inflammatory responses to M. abscessus. Herein, we will discuss the limitations, advantages and potential offered by these various models to study the pathophysiology of M. abscessus infection and to assess the preclinical efficacy of compounds active against this emerging human pathogen.

Tissue tropisms, infection kinetics, histologic lesions, and antibody response of the MR766 strain of Zika virus in a murine model.

The appearance of severe Zika virus (ZIKV) disease in the most recent outbreak has prompted researchers to respond through the development of tools to quickly characterize transmission and pathology. We describe here another such tool, a mouse model of ZIKV infection and pathogenesis using the MR766 strain of virus that adds to the growing body of knowledge regarding ZIKV kinetics in small animal models.

Early outbreak detection by linking health advice line calls to water distribution areas retrospectively demonstrated in a large waterborne outbreak of cryptosporidiosis in Sweden.

In the winter and spring of 2011 a large outbreak of cryptosporidiosis occurred in Skellefteå municipality, Sweden. This study summarizes the outbreak investigation in terms of outbreak size, duration, clinical characteristics, possible source(s) and the potential for earlier detection using calls to a health advice line.

Adolescent Stress as a Driving Factor for Schizophrenia Development-A Basic Science Perspective.

Schizophrenia has been associated with heightened stress responsivity in adolescence that precedes onset of psychosis. We now report that multiple stressors during adolescence in normal rats leads to deficits in adults analogous to that seen in schizophrenia patients. Moreover, impairment of stress control by lesion of the prelimbic prefontal cortex in adolescence caused previously subthreshold levels of stress to induce these deficit states when tested as adults. Thus, predisposition to stress hyper-responsivity, or exposure to substantial stressors, during adolescence can trigger a cascade of events that result in a schizophrenia-like profile in adults. This data can provide crucial information with respect to identifying markers for schizophrenia vulnerability early in life and, by mitigating the impact of stressors, prevent the transition to psychosis.

Occurrence of Leishmania infantum in the central nervous system of naturally infected dogs: Parasite load, viability, co-infections and histological alterations.

Zoonotic visceral leishmaniasis is caused by the protozoan Leishmania infantum and little is known about the occurrence and pathogenesis of this parasite in the CNS. The aims of this study were to evaluate the occurrence, viability and load of L. infantum in the CNS, and to identify the neurological histological alterations associated with this protozoan and its co-infections in naturally infected dogs. Forty-eight Leishmania-seropositive dogs from which L. infantum was isolated after necropsy were examined. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples were analyzed by parasitological culture, quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) and the rapid immunochromatographic Dual Path Platform test. Brain, spinal cord and spleen samples were submitted to parasitological culture, qPCR, and histological techniques. Additionally, anti-Toxoplasma gondii and anti-Ehrlichia canis antibodies in serum and distemper virus antigens in CSF were investigated. None of the dogs showed neurological signs. All dogs tested positive for L. infantum in the CNS. Viable forms of L. infantum were isolated from CSF, brain and spinal cord in 25% of the dogs. Anti-L. infantum antibodies were detected in CSF in 61% of 36 dogs. Inflammatory histological alterations were observed in the CNS of 31% of the animals; of these, 66% were seropositive for E. canis and/or T. gondii. Amastigote forms were associated with granulomatous non-suppurative encephalomyelitis in a dog without evidence of co-infections. The highest frequency of L. infantum DNA was observed in the brain (98%), followed by the spinal cord (96%), spleen (95%), and CSF (50%). The highest L. infantum load in CNS was found in the spinal cord. These results demonstrate that L. infantum can cross the blood-brain barrier, spread through CSF, and cause active infection in the entire CNS of dogs. Additionally, L. infantum can cause inflammation in the CNS that can lead to neurological signs with progression of the disease.

Development of mismatch amplification mutation assays for the differentiation of MS1 vaccine strain from wild-type Mycoplasma synoviae and MS-H vaccine strains.

Mycoplasma synoviae is an economically significant pathogen in the poultry industry, inducing respiratory disease and infectious synovitis in chickens and turkeys, and eggshell apex abnormality in chickens. Eradication, medication and vaccination are the options for controlling M. synoviae infection. Currently there are two commercial, live, attenuated vaccines available against M. synoviae: the temperature sensitive MS-H vaccine strain and the NAD independent MS1 vaccine strain. Differentiation of vaccine strains from field isolates is essential during vaccination and eradication programs. The present study provides melt-curve and agarose gel based mismatch amplification mutation assays (MAMA) to discriminate the MS1 vaccine strain from the MS-H vaccine strain and wild-type M. synoviae isolates. The assays are based on the A/C single nucleotide polymorphism at nt11 of a HIT family protein coding gene. The melt- and agarose-MAMAs reliably distinguish the MS1 vaccine strain genotype from the MS-H vaccine strain and wild-type M. synoviae isolate genotype from 102 template number/DNA sample. No cross-reactions with other avian Mycoplasma species were observed. The assays can be performed directly on clinical samples and they can be run simultaneously with the previously described MAMAs designed for the discrimination of the MS-H vaccine strain. The developed assays are applicable in laboratories with limited facilities and promote the rapid, simple and cost effective differentiation of the MS1 vaccine strain.

Lens metabolomic profiling as a tool to understand cataractogenesis in Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout reared at optimum and high temperature.

Periods of high or fluctuating seawater temperatures result in several physiological challenges for farmed salmonids, including an increased prevalence and severity of cataracts. The aim of the present study was to compare cataractogenesis in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) and rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) reared at two temperatures, and investigate whether temperature influences lens metabolism and cataract development. Atlantic salmon (101±2 g) and rainbow trout (125±3 g) were reared in seawater at either 13°C (optimum for growth) or 19°C during the 35 days experiment (n = 4 tanks for each treatment). At the end of the experiment, the prevalence of cataracts was nearly 100% for Atlantic salmon compared to ~50% for rainbow trout, irrespective of temperature. The severity of the cataracts, as evaluated by slit-lamp inspection of the lens, was almost three fold higher in Atlantic salmon compared to rainbow trout. The global metabolic profile revealed differences in lens composition and metabolism between the two species, which may explain the observed differences in cataract susceptibility between the species. The largest differences were seen in the metabolism of amino acids, especially the histidine metabolism, and this was confirmed by a separate quantitative analysis. The global metabolic profile showed temperature dependent differences in the lens carbohydrate metabolism, osmoregulation and redox homeostasis. The results from the present study give new insight in cataractogenesis in Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout reared at high temperature, in addition to identifying metabolic markers for cataract development.

Characterization of a transgenic mouse model exhibiting spontaneous lung adenocarcinomas with a metastatic phenotype.

Developing lung cancer in mouse models that display similarities of both phenotype and genotype will undoubtedly provide further and better insights into lung tumor biology. Moreover, a high degree of pathophysiological similarity between lung tumors from mouse models and their human counterparts will make it possible to use these mouse models for preclinical tests. Ovine pulmonary adenocarcinomas (OPAs) present the same symptoms as adenocarcinomas in humans and are caused by a betaretrovirus. OPAs have served as an exquisite model of carcinogenesis for human lung adenocarcinomas. In this study, we characterized the histopathology and transcriptome profiles of a jaagsiekte sheep retrovirus (JSRV)-envelope protein (Env) transgenic mouse model with spontaneous lung tumors, and associations of the transcriptome profiles with tumor invasion/metastasis, especially the phenomenon of the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Genetic information obtained from an expression array was analyzed using an ingenuity pathways analysis (IPA) and human disease database (MalaCards). By careful examination, several novel EMT-related genes were identified from tumor cells using RT-qPCR, and these genes also scored high in MalaCards. We concluded that the JSRV-Env mouse model could serve as a spontaneous lung adenocarcinoma model with a metastatic phenotype, which will benefit the study of early-onset and progression of lung adenocarcinoma. In addition, it can also be a valuable tool for biomarkers and drug screening, which will be helpful in developing intervention therapies.

Serum C-reactive protein concentrations in Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers with immune-mediated rheumatic disease.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers (NSDTRs) are a dog breed often affected by immune-mediated rheumatic disease (IMRD), a disorder characterised by chronic stiffness and joint pain. Most, but not all, dogs with IMRD, have antinuclear antibodies (ANA), which are also commonly present in the autoimmune disease systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The clinical and diagnostic findings of IMRD indicate that it is an SLE-related disorder. C-reactive protein (CRP), an acute phase protein, is a quantitative marker of inflammation for many diseases and is used for diagnosing and monitoring systemic inflammation in both humans and dogs. However, in human SLE, CRP concentrations are often elevated but correlate poorly with disease activity; they can be low in individual patients with active disease. The aim of the study was to investigate CRP in a group of NSDTRs with the SLE-related disorder IMRD. The hypothesis was that CRP concentrations would be increased in dogs with IMRD compared to healthy dogs, but that the increase would be mild. Serum CRP concentrations were measured in 18 IMRD-affected NSDTRs and 19 healthy control NSDTRs using two different canine-specific CRP assays. Dogs with IMRD and ANA had higher CRP concentrations than the control dogs, but the concentrations were below the clinical decision limit for systemic inflammation for most of the IMRD dogs. These results indicate that CRP concentrations were increased in dogs with IMRD and ANA, but the increase was mild, similar to what has been observed in human SLE.

Genetically engineered mouse models of craniopharyngioma: an opportunity for therapy development and understanding of tumor biology.

Adamantinomatous craniopharyngioma (ACP) is the commonest tumor of the sellar region in childhood. Two genetically engineered mouse models have been developed and are giving valuable insights into ACP biology. These models have identified novel pathways activated in tumors, revealed an important function of paracrine signalling and extended conventional theories about the role of organ-specific stem cells in tumorigenesis. In this review, we summarize these mouse models, what has been learnt, their limitations and open questions for future research. We then discussed how these mouse models may be used to test novel therapeutics against potentially targetable pathways recently identified in human ACP.

Land altitude, slope, and coverage as risk factors for Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) outbreaks in the United States.

Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) is, arguably, the most impactful disease on the North American swine industry. The Swine Health Monitoring Project (SHMP) is a national volunteer initiative aimed at monitoring incidence and, ultimately, supporting swine disease control, including PRRS. Data collected through the SHMP currently represents approximately 42% of the sow population of the United States. The objective of the study here was to investigate the association between geographical factors (including land elevation, and land coverage) and PRRS incidence as recorded in the SHMP. Weekly PRRS status data from sites participating in the SHMP from 2009 to 2016 (n = 706) was assessed. Number of PRRS outbreaks, years of participation in the SHMP, and site location were collected from the SHMP database. Environmental features hypothesized to influence PRRS risk included land coverage (cultivated areas, shrubs and trees), land altitude (in meters above sea level) and land slope (in degrees compared to surrounding areas). Other risk factors considered included region, production system to which the site belonged, herd size, and swine density in the area in which the site was located. Land-related variables and pig density were captured in raster format from a number of sources and extracted to points (farm locations). A mixed-effects Poisson regression model was built; and dependence among sites that belonged to a given production system was accounted for using a random effect at the system level. The annual mean and median number of outbreaks per farm was 1.38 (SD: 1.6), and 1 (IQR: 2.0), respectively. The maximum annual number of outbreaks per farm was 9, and approximately 40% of the farms did not report any outbreak. Results from the final multivariable model suggested that increments of swine density and herd size increased the risk for PRRS outbreaks (P < 0.01). Even though altitude (meters above sea level) was not significant in the final model, farms located in terrains with a slope of 9% or higher had lower rates of PRRS outbreaks compared to farms located in terrains with slopes lower than 2% (P < 0.01). Finally, being located in an area of shrubs/ herbaceous cover and trees lowered the incidence rate of PRRS outbreaks compared to being located in cultivated/ managed areas (P < 0.05). In conclusion, highly inclined terrains were associated with fewer PRRS outbreaks in US sow farms, as was the presence of shrubs and trees when compared to cultivated/ managed areas. Influence of terrain characteristics on spread of airborne diseases, such as PRRS, may help to predicting disease risk, and effective planning of measures intended to mitigate and prevent risk of infection.

Humanized Immunoglobulin Mice: Models for HIV Vaccine Testing and Studying the Broadly Neutralizing Antibody Problem.

A vaccine that can effectively prevent HIV-1 transmission remains paramount to ending the HIV pandemic, but to do so, will likely need to induce broadly neutralizing antibody (bnAb) responses. A major technical hurdle toward achieving this goal has been a shortage of animal models with the ability to systematically pinpoint roadblocks to bnAb induction and to rank vaccine strategies based on their ability to stimulate bnAb development. Over the past 6 years, immunoglobulin (Ig) knock-in (KI) technology has been leveraged to express bnAbs in mice, an approach that has enabled elucidation of various B-cell tolerance mechanisms limiting bnAb production and evaluation of strategies to circumvent such processes. From these studies, in conjunction with the wealth of information recently obtained regarding the evolutionary pathways and paratopes/epitopes of multiple bnAbs, it has become clear that the very features of bnAbs desired for their function will be problematic to elicit by traditional vaccine paradigms, necessitating more iterative testing of new vaccine concepts. To meet this need, novel bnAb KI models have now been engineered to express either inferred prerearranged V(D)J exons (or unrearranged germline V, D, or J segments that can be assembled into functional rearranged V(D)J exons) encoding predecessors of mature bnAbs. One encouraging approach that has materialized from studies using such newer models is sequential administration of immunogens designed to bind progressively more mature bnAb predecessors. In this review, insights into the regulation and induction of bnAbs based on the use of KI models will be discussed, as will new Ig KI approaches for higher-throughput production and/or altering expression of bnAbs in vivo, so as to further enable vaccine-guided bnAb induction studies.

The immunoregulatory effects of co-infection with Fasciola hepatica: From bovine tuberculosis to Johne's disease.

Fasciola hepatica (liver fluke) is a parasite prevalent in much of the world that causes the economically-important disease of fasciolosis in livestock. The threat that this disease poses extends beyond its direct effects due to the parasite's immunomodulatory effects. Research at this laboratory is focusing on whether this immunoregulation can, in animals infected with liver fluke, exert a bystander effect on concurrent infections in the host. It has already been established that F. hepatica infection reduces cell mediated immune responses to Mycobacterium bovis in cattle, and that the interaction between the two pathogens can be detected on an epidemiological scale. This review explores the immunological consequences of co-infection between F. hepatica and other bacterial infections. Arguments are presented suggesting that immunity of cattle to Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis is also likely to be affected.

Hotspots of canine leptospirosis in the United States of America.

Leptospirosis is a widespread zoonotic disease that causes hepatic and renal disease in dogs and human beings. The incidence of leptospirosis in dogs in the USA appears to be increasing. This study used 14 years of canine leptospirosis testing data across 3109 counties in the USA to analyze environmental and socio-economic correlates with rates of infection and to produce a map of locations of increased risk for canine leptospirosis. Boosted regression trees were used to identify the probability of a dog testing positive for leptospirosis based on microscopic agglutination test (MAT) results, and environmental and socio-economic data. The Midwest, East and Southwest were more likely to yield positive tests for leptospirosis, although specific counties in Appalachia had some of the highest predicted probabilities. Location (suburban areas or areas with deciduous forest) and climate (precipitation and temperature) were predictors for positive MAT results for leptospirosis, although the precise direction and strength of the effects was difficult to interpret. Wide geographic variation in predicted risk was identified. This risk mapping approach may provide opportunities for improved diagnosis, control and prevention of leptospirosis in dogs.

Eurasian golden jackal as host of canine vector-borne protists.

Jackals are medium-sized canids from the wolf-like clade, exhibiting a unique combination of ancestral morphotypes, broad trophic niches, and close phylogenetic relationships with the wolf and dog. Thus, they represent a potential host of several pathogens with diverse transmission routes. Recently, populations of the Eurasian golden jackal Canis aureus have expanded into the Western Palaearctic, including most of Europe. The aim of our study was to examine Eurasian golden jackals from Romania, Czech Republic and Austria for a wide spectrum of vector-borne protists and to evaluate the role of this species as a reservoir of disease for domestic dogs and/or humans.

Colibactin Contributes to the Hypervirulence of pks(+) K1 CC23 Klebsiella pneumoniae in Mouse Meningitis Infections.

Klebsiella pneumoniae is the most common pathogen of community-acquired meningitis in Taiwan. However, the lack of a physiologically relevant meningitis model for K. pneumoniae has impeded research into its pathogenesis mechanism. Based on the core genome MLST analyses, the hypervirulent K1 K. pneumoniae strains, which are etiologically implicated in adult meningitis, mostly belong to a single clonal complex, CC23. Some K1 CC23 K. pneumoniae strains carry a gene cluster responsible for colibactin production. Colibactin is a small genotoxic molecule biosynthesized by an NRPS-PKS complex, which is encoded by genes located on the pks island. Compared to other hypervirulent K. pneumoniae which primarily infect the liver, the colibactin-producing (pks(+)) K1 CC23 strains had significant tropism toward the brain of BALB/c mice. We aimed in this study to develop a physiologically relevant meningitis model with the use of pks(+) K1 CC23 K. pneumoniae. Acute meningitis was successfully induced in adult BALB/c male mice through orogastric, intranasal, and intravenous inoculation of pks(+) K1 CC23 K. pneumoniae. Besides the typical symptoms of bacterial meningitis, severe DNA damages, and caspase 3-independent cell death were elicited by the colibactin-producing K1 CC23 K. pneumoniae strain. The deletion of clbA, which abolished the production of colibactin, substantially hindered K. pneumoniae hypervirulence in the key pathogenic steps toward the development of meningitis. Our findings collectively demonstrated that colibactin was necessary but not sufficient for the meningeal tropism of pks(+) K1 CC23 K. pneumoniae, and the mouse model established in this study can be applied to identify other virulence factors participating in the development of this life-threatening disease.

Effect of berberine on the renal tubular epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition by inhibition of the Notch/snail pathway in diabetic nephropathy model KKAy mice.

Renal tubular epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and renal tubular interstitial fibrosis are the main pathological changes of diabetic nephropathy (DN), which is a common cause of end-stage renal disease. Previous studies have suggested that berberine (BBR) has antifibrotic effects in the kidney and can reduce apoptosis and inhibit the EMT of podocytes in DN. However, the effect of BBR on the renal tubular EMT in DN and its mechanisms of action are unknown. This study was performed to explore the effects of BBR on the renal tubular EMT and the molecular mechanisms of BBR in DN model KKAy mice and on the high glucose (HG)-induced EMT in mouse renal tubular epithelial cells. Our results showed that, relative to the model mice, the mice in the treatment group had an improved general state and reduced blood glucose and 24-h urinary protein levels. Degradation of renal function was ameliorated by BBR. We also observed the protective effects of BBR on renal structural changes, including normalization of an index of renal interstitial fibrosis and kidney weight/body weight. Moreover, BBR suppressed the activation of the Notch/snail pathway and upregulated the α-SMA and E-cadherin levels in DN model KKAy mice. BBR was further found to prevent HG-induced EMT events and to inhibit the HG-induced expression of Notch pathway members and snail1 in mouse renal tubular epithelial cells. Our findings indicate that BBR has a therapeutic effect on DN, including its inhibition of the renal tubular EMT and renal interstitial fibrosis. Furthermore, the BBR-mediated EMT inhibition occurs through Notch/snail pathway regulation.

BestBETs for Vets.

BestBETs for Vets are generated by the Centre for Evidence-based Veterinary Medicine at the University of Nottingham to help answer specific questions and assist in clinical decision making. Although evidence is often limited, they aim to find, present and draw conclusions from the best available evidence, using a standardised framework. A more detailed description of how BestBETs for Vets are produced was published in a previous issue of Veterinary Record (VR, April 4, 2015, pp 354-356).

Nested-PCR assay for detection of Schistosoma japonicum infection in domestic animals.

Schistosomiasis japonica is a common zoonosis. Domestic animals are the primary source of infection and play an important role in disease transmission. The prevalence and infectivity of this disease in domestic animals in China have significantly decreased and, for this reason, diagnostics with a higher sensitivity have become increasingly necessary. It was reported that polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based methods could be used to detect schistosome infection in humans and animals and presented a high sensitivity and specificity. The present study aimed to develop a PCR-based method for detection of Schistosoma japonicum infection in domestic animals.

First autochthonous cases of canine thelaziosis in Slovakia: a new affected area in Central Europe.

The spirurid nematode Thelazia callipaeda, also called the "Oriental eyeworm", is the causative agent of canine and human ocular thelaziosis. In the past few years it has started to spread across central Europe and new endemic areas have been established. The present study reports on the first four autochthonous cases of canine ocular thelaziosis in the territory of Slovakia, Central Europe.

Genomic characterization of two novel pathogenic avipoxviruses isolated from pacific shearwaters (Ardenna spp.).

Over the past 20 years, many marine seabird populations have been gradually declining and the factors driving this ongoing deterioration are not always well understood. Avipoxvirus infections have been found in a wide range of bird species worldwide, however, very little is known about the disease ecology of avian poxviruses in seabirds. Here we present two novel avipoxviruses from pacific shearwaters (Ardenna spp), one from a Flesh-footed Shearwater (A. carneipes) (SWPV-1) and the other from a Wedge-tailed Shearwater (A. pacificus) (SWPV-2).