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Di Cesare A.,University of Teramo | Di Francesco G.,Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dellAbruzzo E del Molise | Frangipane di Regalbono A.,University of Padua | Eleni C.,Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Regioni Lazio e Toscana | And 8 more authors.
Veterinary Journal

Troglostrongylus brevior and Troglostrongylus subcrenatus, two lungworms thought to infest wild felids, have been found recently in domestic cats from Spain and Italy. These unexpected findings have raised doubts about the assumed past and present occurrence of Troglostrongylus spp., especially T. brevior, in domestic hosts and suggest that there may have been missed detection or misdiagnosis. The present retrospective study evaluated the presence of lungworms in cats from Italy with a diagnosis of respiratory parasitism or with compatible lung lesions from 2002 to 2013. Sixty-eight samples of DNA and larvae from cats with a diagnosis of aelurostrongylosis, and 53 formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded lung samples from cats confirmed as lungworm infested or with compatible lesions, were investigated using two DNA-based assays specific for A. abstrusus or T. brevior. All DNA and larval samples were positive for A. abstrusus and one was additionally positive for T. brevior. Most paraffin-embedded lung tissues were positive only for A. abstrusus, but two samples tested positive for both lungworms and one for T. brevior only. This study supports the major role of A. abstrusus in causing feline respiratory parasitism in endemic areas of Italy. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Barnard S.,Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dellAbruzzo E del Molise | Barnard S.,Queens University of Belfast | Matthews L.,Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dellAbruzzo E del Molise | Matthews L.,University of Melbourne | And 3 more authors.
Animal Cognition

We assessed motor laterality in sheep to explore species-specific brain hemi-field dominance and how this could be affected by genetic or developmental factors. Further, we investigated whether directionality and strength of laterality could be linked to emotional stress in ewes and their lambs during partial separation. Forty-three ewes and their singleton lambs were scored on the (left/right) direction of turn in a y-maze to rejoin a conspecific (laterality test). Further, their behavioural response (i.e. time spent near the fence, vocalisations, and activity level) during forced separation by an open-mesh fence was assessed (separation test). Individual laterality was recorded for 44.2 % ewes (significant right bias) and 81.4 % lambs (equally biased to the left and the right). There was no significant association in side bias between dams and offspring. The Chi-squared test revealed a significant population bias for both groups (p < 0.05). Evolutionary adaptive strategies or stimuli-related visual laterality may provide explanation for this decision-making process. Absolute strength of laterality (irrespective of side) was high (Kolmogorov–Smirnov test, dams: D = 0.2; p < 0.001; lambs: D = 0.36, p < 0.0001). The Wilcoxon test showed that lateralised lambs and dams spent significantly more time near each other during separation than non-lateralised animals (p < 0.05), and that lateralised dams were also more active than non-lateralised ones. Arguably, the lateralised animals showed a greater attraction to their pair because they were more disturbed and thus required greater reassurance. The data show that measures of laterality offer a potential novel non-invasive indicator of separation stress. © 2015, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Source

Esposito M.,Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del Mezzogiorno | Serpe F.P.,Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del Mezzogiorno | Diletti G.,Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dellAbruzzo E del Molise | Messina G.,The Second University of Naples | And 5 more authors.

The objective of this study was to estimate the levels of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs), polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (DL-PCBs and NDL-PCBs) in blood serum obtained from non-occupationally exposed volunteers living in the Naples area (Campania Region, southern Italy).The samples were taken from two geographical zones: one was an urban area of Naples and its surroundings and the other was located in an area deemed to be at high environmental risk.Total mean concentrations of these persistent pollutants proved to be in the range 1.43-17.38pgWHO-TEQ1998g-1 lipid for PCDD/Fs, and 0.98-25.45pgWHO-TEQ1998g-1 lipid for DL-PCBs. NDL-PCBs were in the range 316.57-482.90ngg-1 lipid.No significant differences were observed between women and men, nor between donors living in the two different areas.The mean levels of PCDD/Fs and PCBs in the population living in the Naples area were lower than those observed in some studies of populations living in exposed areas (near incineration plants or industrial sites) and urban or rural areas. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Rijks J.M.,University Utrecht | Cito F.,Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dellAbruzzo E del Molise | Cunningham A.A.,UK Institute of Zoology | Giovannini A.,Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dellAbruzzo E del Molise
Journal of Comparative Pathology

Prioritization of companion animal transmissible diseases was performed by the Companion Animals multisectoria. L interprofessiona. L Interdisciplinary Strategic Think tank On zoonoses (CALLISTO) project. The project considered diseases occurring in domesticated species commonly kept as pets, such as dogs and cats, but also included diseases occurring in captive wild animals and production animal species. The prioritization process led to the selection of 15 diseases of prime public health relevance, agricultural economic importance, or both. An analysis was made of the current knowledge on the risk of occurrence and transmission of these diseases among companion animals, and from companion animals to man (zoonoses) or to livestock. The literature was scanned for risk assessments for these diseases. Studies were classified as import risk assessments (IRAs) or risk factor analyses (RFAs) in endemic areas. For those pathogens that are absent from Europe, only IRAs were considered; for pathogens present throughout Europe, only RFAs were considered.IRAs were identified for seven of the eight diseases totally or partially absent from Europe. IRAs for classical rabies and alveolar echinococcosis found an increased risk for introduction of the pathogen into officially disease-free areas as a consequence of abandoning national rules and adopting the harmonized EU rules for pet travel. IRAs for leishmaniosis focused on risk associated with the presence of persistently infected dogs in new geographical areas, taking into consideration the risk of disease establishment should a competent vector arise. IRAs for Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever and West Nile fever indicated that the likelihood of introduction via companion animals was low. IRAs for bluetongue paid no attention to the risk of introduction via companion animals, which was also the case for IRAs for foot-and-mouth disease, the only disease considered to be absent from Europe.RFAs dealing with the risk factors for companion animals to become infected were identified for eight of the 14 diseases found in Europe or parts of it. RFAs for leptospirosis were most numerous (four studies). The host related risk factor 'age' was identified as significant for dogs in at least two RFAs for cystic echinococcosis and giardiasis. Among husbandry and healthcare related factors, 'eating (uncooked) offal', 'being free roaming' and 'poor deworming practice' were associated with risk for dogs in at least two RFAs for cystic echinococcosis, while 'having received recent veterinary treatment' was identified as a risk factor in at least two studies on infection with extended spectrum beta lactamase-producing bacteria, one in horses and the other in dogs and cats. Finally, although the environmental factors 'season' and 'hydrological density' were identified as significant risk factors for dogs in at least two RFAs for leptospirosis, the inconsistent case definitions used in those studies made comparison of study results problematic.RFAs considering the risk of people becoming infected from companion animals were identified for eight of the 14 diseases found in Europe or parts of it. RFAs for human campylobacteriosis were the most numerous (n=6). Most studies made an assessment as to whether keeping a pet per se, or keeping a pet with supposed or known risk factors, was a risk factor for people relative to other risks. This allowed some studies to report the population attributable risk or population attributable fraction of the incidence of human disease due to companion animals (for campylobacteriosis, salmonellosis and toxoplasmosis), which is a measure that is easy to perceive for laymen and policy makers. No RFAs were found that dealt with the risk to food animals from companion animals for any of the 15 pathogens investigated.Few risk method-based studies were identified that provided information on risk factors for companion animals and on their role as a source of these 15 selected diseases, indicating a clear knowledge gap. There were not enough assessments for any of the 15 diseases to allow meta-analyses, whether these assessments dealt with companion animal disease risk or companion animal-associated human disease risk. Important method and technology gaps were the lack of harmonization in the case definitions used for a given disease and the lack of good diagnostics allowing pathogen identification to taxonomic levels that are meaningful for risk analysis. Molecular epidemiology studies on zoonotic pathogens, which included companion animals among the potential human risk factors, were not found, although such studies would provide good preliminary insights without requiring any tracing of people or any interviews. In addition to performing further risk studies that take into account these issues, there is a need for responsible pet ownership and continued education of professionals in companion animal zoonoses. Additional risk assessment studies should allow more targeted actions to reduce the risk of zoonotic diseases transferred via companion animals and provide information that will promote risk-awareness in healthy human-animal relationships. © 2015 The Authors. Source

Ptak G.E.,University of Teramo | D'Agostino A.,Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dellAbruzzo E del Molise | Toschi P.,University of Teramo | Fidanza A.,University of Teramo | And 4 more authors.
Human Reproduction

Study Question Is DNA methyltransferase 1 (DNMT1) dysfunction involved in epigenetic deregulation of placentae from embryos obtained by assisted reproduction technologies (ARTs)? Summary Answer DNMT1 expression in growing placentae of in vitro produced (IVP) embryos is compromised and associated with pregnancy loss. What is Known AlreadyDNMT1 maintains the methylation profile of genes during cell division. The methylation status of genes involved in placenta development is altered in embryos obtained in vitro. Disturbances in the epigenetic regulation of gene expression during placentogenesis could be involved in the frequent developmental arrest and loss of IVP embryos. Study Design , Size, DurationForty sheep were naturally mated (Group 1, CTR). IVP blastocysts (2-4 per ewe) were surgically transferred to the remaining 46 recipient sheep 6 days after oestrus (Group 2). Twenty-one recipients from Group 1 and 27 recipients from Group 2 were allowed to deliver in order to compare embryo survival in both groups at term (150 days). From the remaining recipients (n = 38), fetuses and placentae of both groups were recovered by paramedian laparotomy at Days 20, 22, 24, 26 and 28 of gestation. Materials, Setting, Method SImmediately after collection, early placental tissues (chorion-allantois) were snap frozen in liquid nitrogen and DNMT1 expression and activity was evaluated. mRNA levels (for DNMT1, HDAC2, PCNA, DMAP1, MEST, IGF2, CDKN1C, H19) and the methylation status of H19 were also analyzed. Furthermore, embryo size and survival rate were measured. Main Results and the Role of Chance Our study shows that DNMT1 expression was reduced in early placentae from sheep IVP embryos. This reduction was associated with growth arrest and subsequent death of the sheep embryos. Conversely, normal levels of DNMT1 and its cofactors were observed in placentae from IVP embryos that survived this developmental bottleneck. Although DNA methylation machinery was severely compromised in IVP placentae only up to Day 24, the low DNMT1 enzymatic activity that persisted after this stage in IVP placentae was not lethal for the developing embryos. Limitations, Reasons for Caution The studied genes represent only a small fraction of genes regulating DNA methylation. Further studies are needed to evaluate changes in the expression and methylation status of other genes that may lead to developmental arrest of IVP embryos. As this is the only study evaluating the functionality of DNMT1 machinery in placentae from ART embryos, studies on other species are needed to confirm if our observation may be applicable to all mammalian embryos produced in vitro. Wider Implications of the FindingsThe knowledge about compromised activity of DNMT1 in placentae obtained from IVP embryos should stimulate detailed studies on the metabolic requirements of oocytes and embryos in order to adequately enrich the culture media. Study Funding/Competing Interest (S)This work was supported by the European Research Council (FP7/2007-2013)/Programme IDEAS GA no. 210103 to G.E.P. No competing interests are declared. © 2012 The Author. Source

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