Characterization of Treponema phagedenis-like spirochetes isolated from papillomatous digital dermatitis lesions in dairy cattle

By Alt, D. P. and Goff, J. P. and Moeller, M. R. and Trott, D. J. and Walker, R. L. and Wannemuehler, M. J. and Waters, W. R. and Zuerner, R. L., Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 2003
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Four spirochete strains were isolated from papillomatous digital dermatitis (PDD) lesions in Iowa dairy cattle and compared with two previously described spirochete strains isolated from dairy cattle in California. These six strains shared an identical 16S ribosomal DNA sequence that was 98% similar to Treponema phagedenis and 99% similar to the uncultivated PDD spirochete sequence DDLK-4. The whole-cell protein profiles resolved by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of these six strains were similar. However, these strains showed differences in the antigenic diversity of lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Genetic diversity was also detected by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis of genomic DNA digests, revealing differences among five of the six strains. Serum immunoglobulin G antibodies from dairy cattle with active PDD lesions reacted with the LPS of all but one PDD spirochete strain. Likewise, peripheral blood mononuclear cells from cattle with active PDD lesions produced blastogenic responses to one of the two California isolates. Both antibody and lymphocyte blastogenic responses were reduced in convalescent dairy cattle, suggesting the immune response to these spirochetes has short duration. These results demonstrate genetic and antigenic diversity among T. phagedenis-like treponemes and provide further evidence for the involvement of these spirochetes in the pathogenesis of PDD.
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