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    Sarcocystis neurona, a coccidian parasite shed by opossums (Didelphis spp.) in the Americas, is the major cause of equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM) and induces disease in other domestic and wild animal species, including domestic dogs. Sarcocystis cruzi, despite its low pathogenicity for cattle (intermediate hosts), is worldwide distributed and uses mostly dogs as definitive hosts. The aims of this study were to test serological reactivities of dog sera to S. neurona and S. cruzi antigens, and to investigate potential serological cross-reactivity to these parasites. Sera from 353 Brazilian dogs were obtained from rural areas in the municipality of Ilhéus, Bahia, and examined by immunofluorescent antibody tests (IFAT). Antigens used in serological reactions consisted of S. neurona merozoites from a North American strain (SN138), and bradyzoites of S. cruzi obtained from Brazilian bovine hearts, with parasite species identity confirmed by PCR and sequencing of the 18S gene of the rDNA. Seropositivity to S. neurona and to S. cruzi were detected in 3.39% (12/353) and 4.81% (17/353) of the dogs, respectively. Ten canine sera reacted solely to S. neurona and 15 serum samples reacted only to S. cruzi. Two serum samples were simultaneously positive for both parasites. Sera from 14 dogs that tested positive by IFAT (9 for S. neurona and 3 for S. cruzi) and from two dogs that were negative by IFAT for the two parasites, were examined by Western blot using S. neurona as antigen; these sera reacted to a great number of protein bands, including antigens on the 16 and 30 KDa positions, which encompass immunodominant antigens for S. neurona in horses. Western blot did not show any specific pattern for S. neurona infection/exposure using canine sera. Dogs act as definitive hosts for several Sarcocystis spp. that infect farm animals, including horses, sheep, goats, water buffaloes and pigs, and for this reason, should contain antibodies to a broad repertoire of Sarcocystis spp. antigens. In conclusion, low percentages of dogs from rural areas of Ilhéus, Bahia, were reactive to both S. neurona and S. cruzi antigens. It is possible that other Sarcocystis species, besides S. neurona and S. cruzi, might have contributed for the seropositivity observed in this study. IFAT was more specific than Western blot to differentiate canine serological reactions to S. neurona and S. cruzi antigens. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


    Cleusa Maria Carneiro Oliveira, Philipe Brito Oliveira, George Rego Albuquerque, Luís Fernando Pita Gondim. Serologic reactivity of canine sera to Sarcocystis neurona and Sarcocystis cruzi antigens. Veterinary parasitology, regional studies and reports. 2020 Jul;21:100439

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    PMID: 32862892

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