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Achievements of an eradication programme against caprine arthritis encephalitis virus in South Tyrol, Italy.

Small ruminant lentivirus infections in goats affect both production and animal welfare. This represents a threat to the qualitative and quantitative growth of goat farming, recently observed in mountainous regions such as the Autonomous Province of Bolzano - South Tyrol (Italy). To monitor and eradicate the caprine arthritis encephalitis virus in this goat population, a compulsory eradication campaign was launched, based on a strict census of small ruminants and yearly serological testing of all animals, followed by the consequent culling of seropositive individuals. The campaign succeeded in completely eliminating cases of clinical disease in goats, while drastically reducing the seroprevalence at the herd as well as individual animal level. The serological outcome of the introduced control measures was determined using commercially available ELISA kits, demonstrating their suitability for use in this type of campaign, aimed at reducing seroprevalence as well as clinical manifestations of these infections. However, this clear success is diminished by the failure to achieve a complete eradication of these viruses. The reasons leading to the observed tailing phenomenon and the occurrence of new infections in already sanitised flocks are discussed and implementation of further measures are proposed.

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Glucose transporter-4 in white blood cells of young and old sled dogs: a model for human biomarker development.

The insulin responsive glucose transporter, GLUT4 is found predominantly in muscle and adipose cells. Maratou and others (2007) reported that there is GLUT4 in white blood cells (WBC) collected from human subjects in response to insulin activation. This study was designed to validate the presence of GLUT4 in white blood cells of sled dogs and furthermore to investigate whether changes in levels of the GLUT4 protein might be associated with aging. Additionally, we examined the blood insulin concentration of two populations of dogs, young and old, before and after a meal to observe their insulin response. It is documented in skeletal muscle that GLUT4 expression is increased as a result of conditioning, making sled dogs an excellent model in the circumpolar north for studying the effects of exercise, nutrition and diabetes (Felsburg 2002; Kararli 2006). Blood was withdrawn from 11 healthy sled dogs: 6 young (1-5 years) and physically fit, conditioned for racing and 5 old (7-13 years), retired from racing. The insulin response was determined using blood plasma and ELISA. The buffy coat (containing WBC) was collected with a glass pipette after centrifugation and washed and suspended in 1x phosphate buffer. GLUT4 was measured using ELISA kits (USCN Life Sciences). The results validate that GLUT4 is present in white blood cells in sled dogs. Age had no significant effect in the concentration of GLUT4 between the populations of old and young dogs. A significant difference in insulin levels pre and post meal in young (0.13 ± 0.03 ng/mL (pre), 0.22 ± 0.04 ng/mL (post), p < 0.05) and old (0.13 ± 0.02 ng/mL (pre), 0.22 ± 0.03 ng/mL (post), p < 0.05) dogs was observed, displaying the typical postprandial insulin spike. No significant difference was found in insulin concentration comparing old versus young dogs. Our data shows that white blood cells in young (40.4 ± 2.4 ng/mL) and old (35.3 ± 8.8 ng/mL) sled dogs have quantifiable but non-significant different GLUT4 levels (p > 0.05). Detecting GLUT4 via an ELISA in white blood cells, opens up minimally invasive avenues for studying the underlying molecular mechanisms associated with insulin resistance in more complex, dynamic and physiological systems. This project was the first step in developing a protocol for this simple, technique with a potential clinical application for diagnosing insulin resistance.

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Prevalence of paratuberculosis in cattle and control measures within the herd influence the performance of ELISA tests.

Commercial ELISA kits are widely used in the diagnosis of paratuberculosis of dairy cattle. It is critically important to understand the influences on these test results and their relation to faecal culture (FC) results in order to interpret the findings and to make decisions concerning serial testing and control measures. A total of 1021 cattle (423 FC positive, 598 FC negative) from 14 Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP) positive herds were tested with four ELISA systems and FC simultaneously to calculate the kappa coefficients for the agreement of the different ELISA systems as well as find influencing factors. For the agreement of FC and ELISA, the kappa coefficients were low and ranged from 0.19 to 0.24, whereas, results of the different ELISA were consistently high (0.74-0.90). Agreement with FC was enhanced with the duration of control (P≤0.001) and the lactation number (P≤0.01), and reduced with within-herd prevalence (P≤0.001). There were substantial differences in the detection rate of low (15-24 per cent) and high (85-100 per cent) MAP shedders. In conclusion, the factors shown to influence test sensitivity, should be taken into account for validation and interpretation of ELISA tests. The benefit of serial ELISA testing is low.

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Transfer of tumour necrosis factor-α via colostrum to foals.

This study aimed to determine whether TNF-α is transferred to equine neonates via colostrum and the relationship between TNF-α and IgG concentrations in the equine neonate. Colostrum, presuckle and postsuckle foal serum samples were collected from healthy mares and their foals. Equine TNF-α ELISA and IgG SRID kits were used to determine the concentrations of TNF-α and IgG, respectively. Statistical analysis was performed using the Spearman rank correlation. TNF-α concentrations in all presuckle foal serum were below the limit of detection in 15/16 foals and increased in postsuckle foal serum to a mean concentration of 7.7 x 10(4) pg/ml. TNF-α concentrations in postsuckle foal serum and colostrum showed significant correlation (rho=0.668; P=0.005). However, TNF-α and IgG concentrations in colostrum or postsuckle foal serum did not correlate (rho<-0.016; P>0.05). Ratios of TNF-α/IgG in colostrum or postsuckle foal serum showed significant correlation (rho=0.750; P=0.0008). These results indicate that TNF-α is transferred to the foal via colostrum absorption and may play a role in early immunity.

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Technical and financial evaluation of assays for progesterone in canine practice in the UK.

The concentration of progesterone was measured in 60 plasma samples from bitches at various stages of the oestrous cycle, using commercially available quantitative and semi-quantitative ELISA test kits, as well as by two commercial laboratories undertaking radioimmunoassay (RIA). The RIA, which was assumed to be the 'gold standard' in terms of reliability and accuracy, was the most expensive method when analysing more than one sample per week, and had the longest delay in obtaining results, but had minimal requirements for practice staff time. When compared with the RIA, the quantitative ELISA had a strong positive correlation (r=0.97, P<0.05) and a sensitivity and specificity of 70.6 per cent and 100.0 per cent, respectively, and positive and negative predictive values of 100.0 per cent and 71.0 per cent, respectively, with an overall accuracy of 90.0 per cent. This method was the least expensive when analysing five or more samples per week, but had longer turnaround times than that of the semi-quantitative ELISA and required more staff time. When compared with the RIA, the semi-quantitative ELISA had a sensitivity and specificity of 100.0 per cent and 95.5 per cent, respectively, and positive and negative predictive values of 73.9 per cent and 77.8 per cent, respectively, with an overall accuracy of 89.2 per cent. This method was more expensive than the quantitative ELISA when analysing five or more samples per week, but had the shortest turnaround time and low requirements in terms of staff time.

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