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The development of a real-time PCR to detect pathogenic Leptospira species in kidney tissue

Fearnley, C., Wakeley, P. R., Gallego-Beltran, J., Dalley, C., Williamson, S., Gaudie, C. and Woodward, M. J. (2008) The development of a real-time PCR to detect pathogenic Leptospira species in kidney tissue. Research in Veterinary Science, 85 (1). pp. 8-16. ISSN 0034-5288

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.rvsc.2007.09.005


A LightCycler(R) real-time PCR hybridization probe-based assay that detects a conserved region of the 16S rRNA gene of pathogenic but not saprophytic Leptospira species was developed for the rapid detection of pathogenic leptospires directly from processed tissue samples. In addition, a differential PCR specific for saprophytic leptospires and a control PCR targeting the porcine beta-actin gene were developed. To assess the suitability of these PCR methods for diagnosis, a trial was performed on kidneys taken from adult pigs with evidence of leptospiral infection, primarily a history of reproductive disease and serological evidence of exposure to pathogenic leptospires (n = 180) and aborted pig foetuses (n = 24). Leptospire DNA was detected by the 'pathogenic' specific PCR in 25 tissues (14%) and the control beta-actin PCR was positive in all 204 samples confirming DNA was extracted from all samples. No leptospires were isolated from these samples by culture and no positives were detected with the 'saprophytic' PCR. In a subsidiary experiment, the 'pathogenic' PCR was used to analyse kidney samples from rodents (n = 7) collected as part of vermin control in a zoo, with show animals with high microagglutination titres to Leptospira species, and five were positive. Fifteen PCR amplicons from 1 mouse, 2 rat and 14 pig kidney samples, were selected at random from positive PCRs (n = 30) and sequenced. Sequence data indicated L. interrogans DNA in the pig and rat samples and L. inadai DNA, which is considered of intermediate pathogenicity, in the mouse sample. The only successful culture was from this mouse kidney and the isolate was confirmed to be L. inadai by classical serology. These data suggest this suite of PCRs is suitable for testing for the presence of pathogenic leptospires in pig herds where abortions and infertility occur and potentially in other animals such as rodents. Crown Copyright (C) 2007 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences > Food Microbial Sciences Research Group
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ID Code:28325

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