Science, Saint Kitts and Nevis
Science, Saint Kitts and Nevis

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Soto E.,University of California at Davis | Dennis M.M.,Ross University School of Medicine | Beierschmitt A.,Ross University School of Medicine | Beierschmitt A.,Behavioural Science Foundation | And 5 more authors.
Microbial Pathogenesis | Year: 2017

In recent years, an emergent Klebsiella pneumoniae hypermucoviscous (HMV) phenotype has been associated with increased invasiveness and pathogenicity in primates. The HMV phenotype is characterized by different capsular serotypes, associated with several genes including the rmpA (regulator of mucoid phenotype) and magA (mucoviscosity-associated) genes. In African green monkeys (AGM) (Chlorocebus aethiops sabaeus) serotypes K1 and K5 have been implicated in fatal multisystemic abscesses. In order to better understand the epizootiology of this pathogen, the capacity of biofilm production of K. pneumoniae isolates presenting the HMV was compared to non-HMV isolates at three different temperatures (25, 30 and 37 °C). The results indicate that HMV and non-HMV isolates display similar capacity to form biofilms at the three different evaluated temperatures. Temperature appears to play a role in the formation of biofilms by K. pneumoniae presenting the HMV phenotype, where larger biofilms were formed at 37 °C than at 25 °C. Knowledge regarding local environmental sources of K. pneumoniae and the possible role of wildlife in the maintenance of this agent in the area is necessary to develop effective recommendations for the prevention and management of this disease in captive AGM populations. © 2017 Elsevier Ltd


PubMed | Louisiana State University, Ross University School of Medicine, Behavioural Science Foundation and University of California at Davis
Type: | Journal: Veterinary research | Year: 2016

Emergent hypermucoviscosity (HMV) phenotypes of Klebsiella pneumoniae have been associated with increased invasiveness and pathogenicity in primates. In this study, we investigated the interaction of African green monkeys (AGM) (Chlorocebus aethiops sabaeus) complement and antibody with HMV and non-HMV isolates as in vitro models of primate infection. Significantly greater survival of HMV isolates was evident after incubation in normal serum or whole blood (p < 0.05) of AGM donors when compared to non-HMV strains. Greater survival of HMV strains (p < 0.05) was found after incubation in whole blood and serum from seropositive donors when compared to seronegative donor samples. Additionally, significantly greater amounts of K. pneumoniae were phagocytozed by AGM leukocytes when complement was active (p < 0.05), but no difference in uptake was observed when serum from seropositive or seronegative animals was used in challenged cells utilizing flow cytometry. Results demonstrate that interaction of cellular and humoral immune elements play a role in the in vitro killing of K. pneumoniae, particularly HMV isolates. Neither AGM serum, nor washed whole blood effectively killed HMV isolates; however, assays using heparinized whole blood of seronegative donors significantly reduced viability of HMV and non-HMV strains. The lack of bacterial killing observed in seropositive donors treatments could be at least partially associated with low IgG2 present in these animals. A better understanding of the pathogenesis of klebsiellosis in primates and host immune response is necessary to identify surface molecules that can induce both opsonizing and bactericidal antibody facilitating killing of Klebsiella, and the development of vaccines in human and animals.


Young A.N.,Ross University School of Medicine | du Plessis W.M.,Ross University School of Medicine | Rodriguez D.,Ross University School of Medicine | Beierschmitt A.,Ross University School of Medicine | Beierschmitt A.,Behavioural Science Foundation
Journal of Medical Primatology | Year: 2013

Background: The vervet monkey (Chlorocebus sabaeus) is used commonly in cardiorespiratory biomedical research. This study was performed to establish reference values for thoracic structures and to describe the normal radiographic appearance of the vervet monkey thorax. Methods: Right lateral and dorsoventral thoracic radiographs of ten mature vervet monkeys were evaluated. Anatomic structures were characterized using descriptive statistics. Results: Normal measurements of skeletal, pulmonary, mediastinal, and cardiovascular structures are reported herein. Several ratios were calculated to assess the cardiac silhouette, caudal vena cava, and pulmonary arteries and veins. Conclusions: Consistent measurements could be made on the majority of the thoracic structures evaluated. The aorta on lateral radiographs and the pulmonary veins on dorsoventral radiographs were obscured by a mild bronchointerstitial pattern and body conformation. Caudal vena cava-tapering was occasionally noted and attributed to general anesthesia. Species-specific thoracic radiographic reference values should prove useful in vervet monkey disease diagnosis and management. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons A/S 426 December 2013 10.1111/jmp.12058 Original Article Original Articles © 2013 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Soto E.,Ross University School of Medicine | Griffin M.,Mississippi State University | Verma A.,Ross University School of Medicine | Castillo-Alcala F.,Ross University School of Medicine | And 5 more authors.
Comparative Medicine | Year: 2013

Yersinia enterocolitica is a zoonotic gram-negative pathogen that causes mesenteric lymphadenitis, terminal ileitis, acute gastroenteritis, and septicemia in domestic animals and primates. In 2012, 46 captive African green monkeys (Chlorocebus aethiops sabaeus) died during an outbreak of acutely fatal enteric disease over a period of 1 mo on the island of St Kitts. The affected monkeys presented with a history of mucohemorrhagic diarrhea, marked dehydration, and depression. Fifteen bacterial isolates were recovered from the spleen, liver, and lungs of affected monkeys. All isolates were identified as Y. enterocolitica by biochemical analysis and sequence comparison of the 16S rRNA gene. Phenotypic and genotypic analysis of the recovered isolates revealed homogeneity among the recovered bacteria, and all isolates gave a random amplified polymorphic DNA pattern resembling that given by genotype D under serotypes O:7,8. This outbreak represents the first isolation and characterization of Y. enterocolitica as the causative agent of fatal enteric disease in primates in the Caribbean. Copyright 2013 by the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science.


Cox B.L.,Ross University School of Medicine | Schiffer H.,Ross University School of Medicine | Dagget G.,Ross University School of Medicine | Beierschmitt A.,Ross University School of Medicine | And 8 more authors.
Veterinary Microbiology | Year: 2015

In recent years, an emergent Klebsiella pneumoniae hypermucoviscosity (HMV) phenotype has been associated with increased invasiveness and pathogenicity in primates. In this project, bacteria recovered from infected African green monkeys (AGM) (Chlorocebus aethiops sabaeus) were screened for HMV phenotype, and were compared to non-HMV isolates in in vitro, serum, and oxidative-mediated killing assays. Complement-mediated killing was assessed utilizing freshly collected serum from healthy AGM. Oxidative-mediated killing was investigated utilizing sodium hypochlorite and hydrogen peroxide. Compared to non-HMV isolates, HMV isolates were more resistant to serum-mediated and oxidative killing (p<. 0.05). Phagocytosis resistance was evaluated using AGM peripheral blood monocytes (PBMC), and results indicated that non-HMV isolates associated with the AGM PBMC to a greater extent than HMV isolates (p<. 0.001). Measurement of lactate dehydrogenase release showed that HMV isolates were more cytotoxic to AGM PBMC than non-HMV isolates (p<. 0.001). Thus, the hypermucoid phenotype appears to be an important virulence factor that promotes evasion of innate immune defenses. © 2015 Elsevier B.Vs.


Whitehouse C.A.,U.S. Army | Keirstead N.,University of Trinidad and Tobago | Taylor J.,U.S. Army | Reinhardt J.L.,U.S. Army | Beierschmitt A.,Behavioural Science Foundation
Journal of Wildlife Diseases | Year: 2010

Invasive, hypermucoid Klebsiella pneumoniae causes severe abscess formation in humans and in certain species of nonhuman primates. We conducted a survey of captive and wild-caught African green monkeys, or vervets (Chlorocebus aethiops sabaeus), on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts to assess their carriage rate of Klebsiella spp. Forty percent of rectal swabs from captive monkeys were positive for K pneumoniae, and 20% of wild-caught animals were positive. Two wild-caught monkeys (4%) were positive for K. oxytoca, and one monkey (2%) was found to be infected with a hypermucoid rmpA-positive K pneumoniae strain. Genotyping of this strain showed that it had an indistinguishable random amplified polymorphic DNA fingerprint to a strain that caused fatal abscessation in several African green monkeys in a research colony in the USA in 2005. This is the first report of hypermucoid K pneumoniae isolation from a wild population of nonhuman primates and represents a potential health risk to these animals, as well as to the humans who come in contact with them. © Wildlife Disease Association 2010.


Soto E.,Ross University School of Medicine | Lamon V.,Ross University School of Medicine | Griffin M.,Mississippi State University | Keirstead N.,Ross University School of Medicine | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Wildlife Diseases | Year: 2012

Klebsiella pneumoniae is a zoonotic, Gram-negative member of the family Enterobacteriaceae and is the causative agent of nosocomial septicemic, pneumonic, and urinary tract infections. Recently, pathogenic strains of K. pneumoniae sharing a hypermucoviscosity (HMV) phenotype have been attributed to multisystemic abscessation in both human and nonhuman primates. Although K. pneumoniae is a well-recognized zoonotic agent, there is a lack of general information including adequate diagnostic methods or treatments for nonhuman primates. In an effort to increase the body of knowledge of this enigmatic pathogen, K. pneumoniae isolates from African green monkeys (Chlorocebus aethiops sabaeus) on the island of St. Kitts, West Indies were genotypically and phenotypically characterized. Genetic fingerprints generated by PCRmediated genomic fingerprinting, phenotypic characterization, and antimicrobial susceptibility all identified a high degree of similarity between the HMV and non-HMV K. pneumoniae isolates. The results obtained from this work will help establish a baseline for the development of efficacious diagnostic methods and treatment strategies for both human and nonhuman primates.


Burke M.W.,Howard University | Burke M.W.,Behavioural Science Foundation | Ptito M.,University of Montréal | Ervin F.R.,Behavioural Science Foundation | And 3 more authors.
Developmental Psychobiology | Year: 2015

Prenatal exposure to beverage alcohol is a major cause of mild mental retardation and developmental delay. In nonendangered alcohol-preferring vervet monkeys, we modeled the most common nondysmorphic form of fetal alcohol syndrome disorder with voluntary drinking during the third trimester of pregnancy. Here, we report significant numerical reductions in the principal hippocampal neurons of fetal alcohol-exposed (FAE) offspring, as compared to age-matched, similarly housed conspecifics with isocaloric sucrose exposure. These deficits, particularly marked in CA1 and CA3, are present neonatally and persist through infancy (5 months) and juvenile (2 years) stages. Although the volumes of hippocampal subdivisions in FAE animals are not atypical at birth, by age 2, they are only 65-70% of those estimated in age-matched controls. These data suggest that moderate, naturalistic alcohol consumption during late pregnancy results in a stable loss of hippocampal neurons and a progressive reduction of hippocampal volume. © 2015 The Authors. Developmental Psychobiology Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


PubMed | University of Guelph, Ross University School of Medicine and Behavioural Science Foundation
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Journal of medical primatology | Year: 2016

A uterine neoplasm was observed, as an incidental finding, during post-mortem examination of a 26-year-old female multiparous African green monkey (Chlorocebus aethiops sabaeus). The intramural, expansile, 2 to 3 cm well-demarcated, dark-red, nodular neoplasm was located on the anterior uterine body (corpus) wall.The mass was examined by light microscopy and by immunohistochemistry.The mass was confirmed as a cavernous uterine angioleiomyoma (syn. vascular leiomyoma) characterized by abundant intratumoural vasculature lined by Factor VIII-positive endothelial cells and surrounded by smooth muscle actin-positive cell proliferations.Angioleiomyoma sharing the characteristics of intramural human cavernous uterine angioleiomyoma should be considered in the differential diagnosis of uterine tumours in non-human primates.


PubMed | McGill University, Behavioural Science Foundation and Howard University
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Brain sciences | Year: 2016

Fetal alcohol exposure (FAE) alters hippocampal cell numbers in rodents and primates, and this may be due, in part, to a reduction in the number or migration of neuronal progenitor cells. The olfactory bulb exhibits substantial postnatal cellular proliferation and a rapid turnover of newly formed cells in the rostral migratory pathway, while production and migration of postnatal neurons into the dentate gyrus may be more complex. The relatively small size of the olfactory bulb, compared to the hippocampus, potentially makes this structure ideal for a rapid analysis. This study used the St. Kitts vervet monkey (

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