Neuropathological survey of fallen stock: active surveillance reveals high prevalence of encephalitic listeriosis in small ruminants.

Neurocenter & Clinical Research, Department of Clinical Research & VPH, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, Bremgartenstrasse 109a, Bern, Switzerland.
Veterinary Microbiology (Impact Factor: 3.13). 09/2008; 130(3-4):320-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2008.01.015
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This paper describes the prevalence of brain lesions in the Swiss fallen stock population of small ruminants. 3075 whole brains (75% sheep, 25% goats) were collected as part of a year-long active survey of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) in small ruminants conducted by the Swiss authorities between July 2004 and July 2005. All fallen stock brains were systematically examined by histopathology to obtain reliable data on histologically identifiable brain lesions. Lesions were found in an unexpectedly high number of animals (8.1% of all examined brains). A wide spectrum of diseases was detected showing that this approach provides an excellent opportunity to screen for the prevalence of neurological diseases. Encephalitic listeriosis was by far the most frequent cause of CNS lesions in both species and its prevalence was unexpectedly high when compared to notified confirmed cases. In conclusion, the prevalence of listeriosis as estimated by passive surveillance based on the notification of clinical suspects has been underestimated in the past.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Central nervous system (CNS) infections in ruminant livestock, such as listeriosis, are of major concern for veterinary and public health. To date, no host-specific in vitro models for ruminant CNS infections are available. Here, we established and evaluated the suitability of organotypic brain-slices of ruminant origin as in vitro model to study mechanisms of Listeria monocytogenes CNS infection. Ruminants are frequently affected by fatal listeric rhombencephalitis that closely resembles the same condition occurring in humans. Better insight into host-pathogen interactions in ruminants is therefore of interest, not only from a veterinary but also from a public health perspective. Brains were obtained at the slaughterhouse, and hippocampal and cerebellar brain-slices were cultured up to 49 days. Viability as well as the composition of cell populations was assessed weekly. Viable neurons, astrocytes, microglia and oligodendrocytes were observed up to 49 days in vitro. Slice cultures were infected with L. monocytogenes, and infection kinetics were monitored. Infected brain cells were identified by double immunofluorescence, and results were compared to natural cases of listeric rhombencephalitis. Similar to the natural infection, infected brain-slices showed focal replication of L. monocytogenes and bacteria were predominantly observed in microglia, but also in astrocytes, and associated with axons. These results demonstrate that organotypic brain-slice cultures of bovine origin survive for extended periods and can be infected easily with L. monocytogenes. Therefore, they are a suitable model to study aspects of host-pathogen interaction in listeric encephalitis and potentially in other neuroinfectious diseases.
    International Journal of Experimental Pathology 08/2012; 93(4):259-68. · 2.04 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Listeria monocytogenes is among the most important food-borne pathogens and is well adapted to persist in the environment. To gain insight into the genetic relatedness and potential virulence of L. monocytogenes strains causing central nervous system (CNS) infections, we used multilocus variable-number tandem-repeat analysis (MLVA) to subtype 183 L. monocytogenes isolates, most from ruminant rhombencephalitis and some from human patients, food, and the environment. Allelic-profile-based comparisons grouped L. monocytogenes strains mainly into three clonal complexes and linked single-locus variants (SLVs). Clonal complex A essentially consisted of isolates from human and ruminant brain samples. All but one rhombencephalitis isolate from cattle were located in clonal complex A. In contrast, food and environmental isolates mainly clustered into clonal complex C, and none was classified as clonal complex A. Isolates of the two main clonal complexes (A and C) obtained by MLVA were analyzed by PCR for the presence of 11 virulence-associated genes (prfA, actA, inlA, inlB, inlC, inlD, inlE, inlF, inlG, inlJ, and inlC2H). Virulence gene analysis revealed significant differences in the actA, inlF, inlG, and inlJ allelic profiles between clinical isolates (complex A) and nonclinical isolates (complex C). The association of particular alleles of actA, inlF, and newly described alleles of inlJ with isolates from CNS infections (particularly rhombencephalitis) suggests that these virulence genes participate in neurovirulence of L. monocytogenes. The overall absence of inlG in clinical complex A and its presence in complex C isolates suggests that the InlG protein is more relevant for the survival of L. monocytogenes in the environment.
    Applied and Environmental Microbiology 12/2011; 77(23):8325-35. · 3.95 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Reports of bovine listeriosis in Brazil are uncommon, being restricted to citations within retrospective studies, resulting in scarce documented information of this important disease of cattle. This manuscript describes the molecular findings associated with spontaneous encephalitic listeriosis in two steers from distinct herds within the state of Paraná, southern Brazil. Both animals demonstrated altered consciousness suggestive of brain stem dysfunctions and died a few days after the initial onset of disease. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays were designed to target specific genes of infectious neurological agents of cattle. These included bovine herpesvirus 1 and 5 (BoHV-1 and BoHV-5), ovine herpesvirus 2 (OvHV-2), Listeria monocytogenes, and Histophilus somni. Rabies virus was discarded in evaluations done at the official state diagnostic laboratory. Gross alterations were insignificant; histopathology demonstrated rhombencephalitis associated with macrophage-predominant, multifocal to coalescing microabscesses and extensive perivascular cuffings in both steers. The L. monocytogenes PCR assay amplified the 172-bp amplicon of the listeriolysin gene from the brain stem of both animals and from the telencephalon, thalamus, and cerebellum of one of them. Phylogenetic analyses demonstrated that the strains derived from this study clustered with known strains of L. monocytogenes lineage I. The BoHV-1 and BoHV-5, OvHV-2, and H. somni PCR assays were negative. These results confirm the participation of L. monocytogenes lineage I in the etiopathogenesis of the neurological disease herein described and represent the first complete description of encephalitic listeriosis in cattle from Brazil.
    Tropical Animal Health and Production 07/2013; · 1.09 Impact Factor