Person:
Fernández Escobar, Mercedes

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First Name
Mercedes
Last Name
Fernández Escobar
Affiliation
Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Faculty / Institute
Veterinaria
Department
Sanidad Animal
Area
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Now showing 1 - 3 of 3
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Effects of Ovine Monocyte-Derived Macrophage Infection by Recently Isolated Toxoplasma gondii Strains Showing Different Phenotypic Traits

2022-12-07, Vallejo, Raquel, Benavides, Julio, Arteche Villasol, Noive, Fernández Escobar, Mercedes, Ferreras, María Del Carmen, Pérez, Valentín, Gutierrez Expósito, Daniel

Ovine toxoplasmosis is one the most relevant reproductive diseases in sheep. The genetic variability among different Toxoplasma gondii isolates is known to be related to different degrees of virulence in mice and humans, but little is known regarding its potential effects in sheep. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of genetic variability (types II (ToxoDB #1 and #3) and III (#2)) of six recently isolated strains that showed different phenotypic traits both in a normalized mouse model and in ovine trophoblasts, in ovine monocyte-derived macrophages and the subsequent transcript expression of cytokines and iNOS (inducible nitric oxide synthase). The type III isolate (TgShSp24) showed the highest rate of internalization, followed by the type II clonal isolate (TgShSp2), while the type II PRU isolates (TgShSp1, TgShSp3, TgShSp11 and TgShSp16) showed the lowest rates. The type II PRU strains, isolated from abortions, exhibited higher levels of anti-inflammatory cytokines and iNOS than those obtained from the myocardium of chronically infected sheep (type II PRU strains and type III), which had higher levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines. The present results show the existence of significant intra- and inter-genotypic differences in the parasite-macrophage relationship that need to be confirmed in in vivo experiments.

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Dynamics of Neospora caninum-Associated Abortions in a Dairy Sheep Flock and Results of a Test-and-Cull Control Programme

2021-11-20, Sánchez Sánchez, Roberto, Vázquez Calvo, Ángela, Fernández Escobar, Mercedes, Regidor Cerrillo, Javier, Benavides, Julio, Gutiérrez, Jorge, Gutierrez Expósito, Daniel, Crespo Ramos, Francisco José, Ortega Mora, Luis Miguel, Álvarez García, Gema

Neospora caninum is an apicomplexan parasite that can cause abortions and perinatal mortality in sheep. Although ovine neosporosis has been described worldwide, there is a lack of information about the relationship between N. caninum serostatus and the reproductive performance. In this study, we described the infection dynamics in a dairy sheep flock with an abortion rate up to 25% and a N. caninum seroprevalence of 32%. Abortions were recorded in 36% and 9% of seropositive and seronegative sheep, respectively. Seropositive sheep were more likely to abort twice (OR = 4.44) or three or more times (OR = 10.13) than seronegative sheep. Endogenous transplacental transmission was the main route of transmission since 86% of seropositive sheep had seropositive offspring. Within dams that had any abortion, seropositive sheep were more likely than seronegative ones to have female descendants that aborted (OR = 8.12). The slight increase in seropositivity with the age, the low percentage of animals with postnatal seroconversion or with low avidity antibodies, and the seropositivity of one flock dog, indicated that horizontal transmission might have some relevance in this flock. A control programme based on selective culling of seropositive sheep and replacement with seronegative animals was effective in reducing the abortion rate to 7.2%.

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In vivo and in vitro models show unexpected degrees of virulence among Toxoplasma gondii type II and III isolates from sheep

2021-06-10, Fernández Escobar, Mercedes, Ortega Mora, Luis Miguel, Collantes Fernández, Esther, Calero Bernal, Rafael, Regidor-Cerrillo, Javier, Vallejo, Raquel, Benavides, Julio

Toxoplasma gondii is an important zoonotic agent with high genetic diversity, complex epidemiology, and variable clinical outcomes in animals and humans. In veterinary medicine, this apicomplexan parasite is considered one of the main infectious agents responsible for reproductive failure in small ruminants worldwide. The aim of this study was to phenotypically characterize 10 Spanish T. gondii isolates recently obtained from sheep in a normalized mouse model and in an ovine trophoblast cell line (AH-1) as infection target cells. The panel of isolates met selection criteria regarding such parameters as genetic diversity [types II (ToxoDB #1 and #3) and III (#2)], geographical location, and sample of origin (aborted foetal brain tissues or adult sheep myocardium). Evaluations of in vivo mortality, morbidity, parasite burden and histopathology were performed. Important variations between isolates were observed, although all isolates were classified as “nonvirulent” (< 30% cumulative mortality). The isolates TgShSp16 (#3) and TgShSp24 (#2) presented higher degrees of virulence. Significant differences were found in terms of in vitro invasion rates and tachyzoite yield at 72 h post-inoculation (hpi) between TgShSp1 and TgShSp24 isolates, which exhibited the lowest and highest rates, respectively. The study of the CS3, ROP18 and ROP5 loci allelic profiles revealed only type III alleles in ToxoDB #2 isolates and type II alleles in the #1 and #3 isolates included. We concluded that there are relevant intra- and inter-genotype virulence differences in Spanish T. gondii isolates, which could not be inferred by genetic characterization using currently described molecular markers.