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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

A Comparison of the Colonic Microbiome and Volatile Organic Compound Metabolome of Anoplocephala perfoliata Infected and Non-Infected Horses: A Pilot Study

1
Institute of Systems, Molecular and Integrative Biology, University of Liverpool, Crown Street, Liverpool L69 3GE, UK
2
Institute of Infection, Veterinary and Ecological Science, University of Liverpool, Leahurst Campus, Chester High Road, Wirral CH64 7TE, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Robert Li and Gary Muscatello
Animals 2021, 11(3), 755; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030755
Received: 19 January 2021 / Revised: 25 February 2021 / Accepted: 5 March 2021 / Published: 9 March 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Veterinary Microbiology & Parasitology)
In horses, tapeworm infection is associated with specific forms of colic (abdominal pain) that can be life-threatening without surgical treatment. There is growing evidence that intestinal parasites interact with the gut bacteria, and the consequences of these interactions may influence the ability of the host to resist infection and parasite-associated disease. We aimed to compare the intestinal bacteria and the gases produced by metabolic processes in the gut between horses that had varying levels of tapeworms and those with no tapeworm present. Overall, the diversity of gut bacteria was similar in horses with and without tapeworms. There were some decreases in beneficial bacteria in horses with tapeworms, indicating a possible negative consequence of infection. Intestinal gases correlated with some bacteria indicating their functionality and use as potential markers of active bacteria. Our study validates further research investigating tapeworm and gut bacteria interactions in the horse.
Anoplocephala perfoliata is a common equine tapeworm associated with an increased risk of colic (abdominal pain) in horses. Identification of parasite and intestinal microbiota interactions have consequences for understanding the mechanisms behind parasite-associated colic and potential new methods for parasite control. A. perfoliata was diagnosed by counting of worms in the caecum post-mortem. Bacterial DNA was extracted from colonic contents and sequenced targeting of the 16S rRNA gene (V4 region). The volatile organic compound (VOC) metabolome of colonic contents was characterised using gas chromatography mass spectrometry. Bacterial diversity (alpha and beta) was similar between tapeworm infected and non-infected controls. Some compositional differences were apparent with down-regulation of operational taxonomic units (OTUs) belonging to the symbiotic families of Ruminococcaceae and Lachnospiraceae in the tapeworm-infected group. Overall tapeworm burden accounted for 7–8% of variation in the VOC profile (permutational multivariate analysis of variance). Integration of bacterial OTUs and VOCs demonstrated moderate to strong correlations indicating the potential of VOCs as markers for bacterial OTUs in equine colonic contents. This study has shown potential differences in the intestinal microbiome and metabolome of A. perfoliata infected and non-infected horses. This pilot study did not control for extrinsic factors including diet, disease history and stage of infection. View Full-Text
Keywords: anoplocephala perfoliata; equine; gut microbiome; volatile organic compounds (VOCs); omics integration anoplocephala perfoliata; equine; gut microbiome; volatile organic compounds (VOCs); omics integration
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MDPI and ACS Style

Slater, R.; Frau, A.; Hodgkinson, J.; Archer, D.; Probert, C. A Comparison of the Colonic Microbiome and Volatile Organic Compound Metabolome of Anoplocephala perfoliata Infected and Non-Infected Horses: A Pilot Study. Animals 2021, 11, 755. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030755

AMA Style

Slater R, Frau A, Hodgkinson J, Archer D, Probert C. A Comparison of the Colonic Microbiome and Volatile Organic Compound Metabolome of Anoplocephala perfoliata Infected and Non-Infected Horses: A Pilot Study. Animals. 2021; 11(3):755. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030755

Chicago/Turabian Style

Slater, Rachael; Frau, Alessandra; Hodgkinson, Jane; Archer, Debra; Probert, Chris. 2021. "A Comparison of the Colonic Microbiome and Volatile Organic Compound Metabolome of Anoplocephala perfoliata Infected and Non-Infected Horses: A Pilot Study" Animals 11, no. 3: 755. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030755

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