Marine Mammal Brucella Reference Strains Are Attenuated in a BALB/c Mouse Model
AuthorNymo, Ingebjørg Helena; Arias, Maykel; Pardo, Julian; Álvarez, María Pilar; Alcaraz, Ana; Godfroid, Jacques; Jiménez de Bagüés, María Pilar
Brucellosis is a zoonosis of worldwide distribution with numerous animal host species. Since the novel isolation of Brucella spp. from marine mammals in 1994 the bacteria have been isolated from various marine mammal hosts. The marine mammal reference strains Brucella pinnipedialis 12890 (harbour seal, Phoca vitulina) and Brucella ceti 12891 (harbour porpoise, Phocoena phocoena) were included in genus Brucella in 2007, however, their pathogenicity in the mouse model is pending. Herein this is evaluated in BALB/c mice with Brucella suis 1330 as a control. Both marine mammal strains were attenuated, however, B. ceti was present at higher levels than B. pinnipedialis in blood, spleen and liver throughout the infection, in addition B. suis and B. ceti were isolated from brains and faeces at times with high levels of bacteraemia. In B. suis-infected mice serum cytokines peaked at day 7. In B. pinnipedialis-infected mice, levels were similar, but peaked predominantly at day 3 and an earlier peak in spleen weight likewise implied an earlier response. The inflammatory response induced pathology in the spleen and liver. In B. ceti-infected mice, most serum cytokine levels were comparable to those in uninfected mice, consistent with a limited inflammatory response, which also was indicated by restricted spleen and liver pathology. Specific immune responses against all three strains were detected in vitro after stimulation of splenocytes from infected mice with the homologous heat-killed brucellae. Antibody responses in vivo were also induced by the three brucellae. The immunological pattern of B. ceti in combination with persistence in organs and limited pathology has heretofore not been described for other brucellae. These two marine mammal wildtype strains show an attenuated pattern in BALB/c mice only previously described for Brucella neotomea.
Open Access journal/RoMEO Green dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0150432