Melbourne Veterinary School - Research Publications

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    Oriental theileriosis in dairy cows causes a significant milk production loss
    Perera, PK ; Gasser, RB ; Firestone, SM ; Anderson, GA ; Malmo, J ; Davis, G ; Beggs, DS ; Jabbar, A (BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2014-02-19)
    BACKGROUND: Oriental theileriosis is a tick-borne, protozoan disease of cattle caused by members of the Theileria orientalis-complex. Recent outbreaks of this disease in eastern Australia have caused major concerns to the dairy and beef farming communities, but there are no published studies of the economic impact of this disease. On a farm in Victoria, Australia, we assessed whether oriental theileriosis has an impact on milk production and reproductive performance in dairy cows. METHODS: Blood samples collected from all 662 cows on the farm were tested using an established molecular test. For individual cows, milk production and reproductive performance data were collected. A clinical assessment of individual cows was performed. Based on clinical findings and molecular test results, the following groups of cows were classified: group 1, with cardinal clinical signs of oriental theileriosis and molecular test-positive for T. orientalis; group 2, with mild or suspected signs of theileriosis and test-positive; group 3, with no clinical signs and test-positive; and group 4, with no clinical signs and test-negative. Milk production and reproductive performance data for groups 1, 2 and 3 were each compared with those for group 4 using linear and logistic regression analyses, respectively. RESULTS: At 100 days of lactation, group 1 cows produced significantly less milk (288 l; P = 0.001), milk fat (16.8 kg; P < 0.001) and milk protein (12.6 kg; P < 0.001) compared with group 4. At this lactation point, group 2 also produced significantly less milk fat (13.6 kg; P = 0.002) and milk protein (8.6 kg; P = 0.005) than group 4. At 305 days of lactation, group 1 cows produced significantly less milk (624 l; P = 0.004), milk fat (42.9 kg; P < 0.001) and milk protein (26.0 kg; P < 0.001) compared with group 4 cows. Group 2 cows also produced significantly less milk fat (21.2 kg; P = 0.033) at this lactation point. No statistically significant difference in reproductive performance was found upon pairwise comparisons of groups 1-3 with group 4 cows. CONCLUSIONS: The present findings demonstrate that clinical oriental theileriosis can cause significant milk production losses in dairy cattle.
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    Identification of Fromiamycalin and Halaminol A from Australian Marine Sponge Extracts with Anthelmintic Activity against Haemonchus contortus
    Herath, H ; Preston, S ; Jabbar, A ; Garcia-Bustos, J ; Taki, A ; Addison, R ; Hayes, S ; Beattie, K ; McGee, S ; Martin, S ; Ekins, M ; Hooper, J ; Chang, B ; Hofmann, A ; Davis, R ; Gasser, R (MDPI AG, 2019)
    There is an urgent need to discover and develop new anthelmintics for the treatment of parasitic nematodes of veterinary importance to circumvent challenges linked to drug resistant parasites. Being one of the most diverse natural ecosystems, the marine environment represents a rich resource of novel chemical entities. This study investigated 2000 extracts from marine invertebrates, collected from Australian waters, for anthelmintic activity. Using a well-established in vitro bioassay, these extracts were screened for nematocidal activity against Haemonchus contortus — a socioeconomically important parasitic nematode of livestock animals. Extracts (designated Mu-1, Ha-1 and Ha-2) from two marine sponges (Monanchora unguiculata and Haliclona sp.) each significantly affected larvae of H. contortus. Individual extracts displayed a dose-dependent inhibition of both the motility of exsheathed third-stage larvae (xL3s) and the development of xL3s to fourth-stage larvae (L4s). Active fractions in each of the three extracts were identified using bioassay-guided fractionation. From the active fractions from Monanchora unguiculata, a known pentacyclic guanidine alkaloid, fromiamycalin (1), was purified. This alkaloid was shown to be a moderately potent inhibitor of L4 development (half-maximum inhibitory concentration (IC50) = 26.6 ± 0.74 µM) and L4 motility (IC50 = 39.4 ± 4.83 µM), although it had a relatively low potency at inhibiting of xL3 motility (IC50 ≥ 100 µM). Investigation of the active fractions from the two Haliclona collections led to identification of a mixture of amino alcohol lipids, and, subsequently, a known natural product halaminol A (5). Anthelmintic profiling showed that 5 had limited potency at inhibiting larval development and motility. These data indicate that fromiamycalin, other related pentacyclic guanidine alkaloids and/or halaminols could have potential as anthelmintics following future medicinal chemistry efforts.
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    Arylpyrrole and fipronil analogues that inhibit the motility and/or development of Haemonchus conforms in vitro
    Herath, HMPD ; Song, H ; Preston, S ; Jabbar, A ; Wang, T ; McGee, SL ; Hofmann, A ; Garcia-Bustos, J ; Chang, BCH ; Koehler, AV ; Liu, Y ; Ma, Q ; Zhang, P ; Zhao, Q ; Wang, Q ; Gasser, RB (Elsevier Inc., 2018-12-01)
    Due to widespread drug resistance in parasitic nematodes, there is a need to develop new anthelmintics. Given the cost and time involved in developing a new drug, the repurposing of known chemicals can be a promising, alternative approach. In this context, we tested a library (n=600) of natural product-inspired pesticide analogues against exsheathed third stage-larvae (xL3s) of Haemonchus contortus (barber's pole worm) using a wholeorganism, phenotypic screening technique that measures the inhibition of motility and development in treated larvae. In the primary screen, we identified 32 active analogues derived from chemical scaffolds of arylpyrrole or fipronil. The seven most promising compounds, selected based on their anthelmintic activity and/or limited cytotoxicity, are arylpyrroles that reduced the motility of fourth-stage larvae (L4s) with significant potency (IC50 values ranged from 0.04 ± 0.01 μM to 4.25 ± 0.82 μM, and selectivity indices ranged from 10.6 to 412.5). Since the parent structures of the active compounds are uncouplers of oxidative phosphorylation, we tested the effect of selected analogues on oxygen consumption in xL3s using the Seahorse XF24 flux analyser. Larvae treated with the test compounds showed a significant increase in oxygen consumption compared with the untreated control, demonstrating their uncoupling activity. Overall, the results of the present study have identified natural product-derived molecules that are worth considering for chemical optimisation as anthelmintic drug leads.
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    Selected alpha-pyrones from the plants Cryptocarya novoguineensis (Lauraceae) and Piper methysticum (Piperaceae) with activity against Haemonchus contortus in vitro
    Herath, HMPD ; Preston, S ; Jabbar, A ; Garcia-Bustos, J ; Addison, RS ; Hayes, S ; Rali, T ; Wang, T ; Koehler, A ; Chang, BCH ; Hofmann, A ; Davis, RA ; Gasser, RB (ELSEVIER SCI LTD, 2019-04-01)
    Due to the widespread occurrence and spread of anthelmintic resistance, there is a need to develop new drugs against resistant parasitic nematodes of livestock animals. The Nobel Prize-winning discovery and development of the anti-parasitic drugs avermectin and artemisinin has renewed the interest in exploring natural products as anthelmintics. In the present study, we screened 7500 plant extracts for in vitro-activity against the barber's pole worm, Haemonchus contortus, a highly significant pathogen of ruminants. The anthelmintic extracts from two plants, Cryptocarya novoguineensis and Piper methysticum, were fractionated by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Subsequently, compounds were purified from fractions with significant biological activity. Four α-pyrones, namely goniothalamin (GNT), dihydrokavain (DHK), desmethoxyyangonin (DMY) and yangonin (YGN), were purified from fractions from the two plants, GNT from C. novoguineensis, and DHK, DMY and YGN (= kavalactones) from P. methysticum. The three kavalactones induced a lethal, eviscerated (Evi) phenotype in treated exsheathed third-stage larvae (xL3s), and DMY and YGN had moderate potencies (IC50 values of 31.7 ± 0.23 μM and 23.7 ± 2.05 μM, respectively) at inhibiting the development of xL3s to fourth-stage larvae (L4s). Although GNT had limited potency (IC50 of 200-300 μM) at inhibiting L4 development, it was the only compound that reduced L4 motility (IC50 of 6.25-12.50 μM). The compounds purified from each plant affected H. contortus in an irreversible manner. These findings suggest that structure-activity relationship studies of α-pyrones should be pursued to assess their potential as anthelmintics.
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    New species and new records of species of Cloacina von Linstow, 1898 (Nematoda: Strongylida) parasitic in the western scrub wallaby, Notamacropus irma (Jourdan) (Marsupialia: Macropodidae) from Western Australia
    Beveridge, I ; Jabbar, A ; Koehler, A (SPRINGER, 2019-07-01)
    The helminth parasites of the western scrub wallaby or black-glove wallaby, Notamacropus irma (Jourdan) which occurs in Western Australia are relatively poorly documented. Six new species of the strongyloid genus Cloacina von Linstow, 1898 (Strongylida: Chabertiidae) are described namely C. asymmetrica n. sp., C. brazellei n. sp., C. harriganae n. sp., C. hobbsi n. sp., C. middletoni n. sp. and C. woodi n. sp. A redescription of C. laius Beveridge, 1999 from the same host species is included. Molecular sequence data (ITS1 and ITS2 ribosomal DNA) were obtained for C. asymmetrica, C. brazellei, C. hobbsi, C. middletoni and from the previously described species C. themis Beveridge, 1998 occurring in the same host species. Phylogenetically, C. asymmetrica, C. hobbsi and C. middletoni formed a distinct clade, suggesting the possibility of within-host speciation. Cloacina themis clustered with a group of morphologically distinctive species in a separate clade and C. brazellei clustered in a third clade but with poor support. This pattern of congeners in a single host species occurring in multiple clades mirrors the situation in other kangaroos and wallabies. Species of Cloacina from N. irma reported thus far therefore consist of a series of species found only in this host, with two species (C. brazellei and C. laius) shared with the sympatric macropodid Setonix brachyurus (Quoy & Gaimard).
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    Adaptive e-Learning: Emerging Digital Tools for Teaching Parasitology
    Pfeiffer, CN ; Jabbar, A (ELSEVIER SCI LTD, 2019-04-01)
    Adaptive learning activities can respond to a learner's needs in real time, facilitating the development of higher-level skills including bringing together knowledge from different disciplines to solve real-world problems. Here we discuss the use of online adaptive learning activities designed to help veterinary students apply their knowledge to work through parasite case studies.
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    Phenotypic screening of the "Kurz-box' of chemicals identifies two compounds (BLK127 and HBK4) with anthelmintic activity in vitro against parasitic larval stages of Haemonchus contortus
    Linh, TN ; Kurz, T ; Preston, S ; Brueckmann, H ; Lungerich, B ; Herath, HMPD ; Koehler, AV ; Wang, T ; Skalova, L ; Jabbar, A ; Gasser, RB (BMC, 2019-04-30)
    BACKGROUND: Due to anthelmintic resistance problems, there is a need to discover and develop new drugs for the treatment and control of economically important and pathogenic nematodes of livestock animals. With this focus in mind, we screened 236 compounds from a library (called the 'Kurz-box') representing chemically diverse classes such as heterocyclic compounds (e.g. thiazoles, pyrroles, quinolines, pyrimidines, benzo[1,4]diazepines), hydoxamic acid-based metalloenzyme inhibitors, peptidomimetics (bis- and tris-pyrimidoneamides, alkoxyamides) and various intermediates on Haemonchus contortus, one of the most important parasitic nematodes of ruminants. METHODS: In the present study, we tested these compounds, and measured the inhibition of larval motility and development of exsheathed third-stage (xL3) and fourth-stage (L4) larvae of H. contortus using an optimised, whole-organism phenotypic screening assay. RESULTS: Of the 236 compounds, we identified two active compounds (called BLK127 and HBK4) that induced marked phenotypic changes in the worm in vitro. Compound BLK127 induced an 'eviscerated' phenotype in the xL3 stage and also inhibited L4 development. Compound HBK4 exerted a 'curved' phenotype in both xL3s and L4s. CONCLUSIONS: The findings from this study provide a basis for future work on the chemical optimisation of these compounds, on assessing the activity of optimised compounds on adult stages of H. contortus both in vitro and in vivo (in the host animal) and against other parasitic worms of veterinary and medical importance.
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    First cross-sectional, molecular epidemiological survey of Cryptosporidium, Giardia and Enterocytozoon in alpaca (Vicugna pacos) in Australia
    Koehler, AV ; Rashid, MH ; Zhang, Y ; Vaughan, JL ; Gasser, RB ; Jabbar, A (BMC, 2018-09-05)
    BACKGROUND: Eukaryotic pathogens, including Cryptosporidium, Giardia and Enterocytozoon, have been implicated in neonatal diarrhoea, leading to marked morbidity and mortality in the alpaca (Vicugna pacos) and llama (Lama glama) around the world. Australia has the largest population of alpacas outside of South America, but very little is known about these pathogens in alpaca populations in this country. Here, we undertook the first molecular epidemiological survey of Cryptosporidium, Giardia and Enterocytozoon in V. pacos in Australia. METHODS: A cross-sectional survey of 81 herds, comprising alpacas of 6 weeks to 26 years of age, were sampled from the six Australian states (Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia) across the four seasons. PCR-based sequencing was employed, utilising genetic markers in the small subunit of the nuclear ribosomal RNA (SSU) and 60-kilodalton glycoprotein (gp60) genes for Cryptosporidium, triose-phosphate isomerase (tpi) gene for Giardia duodenalis and the internal transcribed spacer region (ITS) for Enterocytozoon bieneusi. RESULTS: PCR-based analyses of 81 faecal DNA samples representing 1421 alpaca individuals detected Cryptosporidium, Giardia and/or Enterocytozoon on 15 farms in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, equating to 18.5% of all samples/herds tested. Cryptosporidium was detected on three (3.7%) farms, G. duodenalis on six (7.4%) and E. bieneusi on eight (9.9%) in two or all of these three states, but not in Queensland, Tasmania or Western Australia. Molecular analyses of selected faecal DNA samples from individual alpacas for Cryptosporidium, Giardia and/or Enterocytozoon consistently showed that alpacas of ≤ 6 months of age harboured these pathogens. CONCLUSIONS: This first molecular investigation of Cryptosporidium, Giardia and Enterocytozoon in alpaca subpopulations in Australia has identified species and genotypes that are of likely importance as primary pathogens of alpacas, particularly young crias, and some genotypes with zoonotic potential. Although the prevalence established here in the alpaca subpopulations studied is low, the present findings suggest that crias are likely reservoirs of infections to susceptible alpacas and/or humans. Future studies should focus on investigating pre-weaned and post-weaned crias, and on exploring transmission patterns to establish what role particular genotypes play in neonatal or perinatal diarrhoea in alpacas and in zoonotic diseases in different states of Australia.
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    Anthelmintic resistance in gastrointestinal nematodes of alpacas (Vicugna pacos) in Australia
    Rashid, MH ; Vaughan, JL ; Stevenson, MA ; Campbell, AJD ; Beveridge, I ; Jabbar, A (BMC, 2018-07-04)
    BACKGROUND: Gastrointestinal nematodes (GINs) can cause significant economic losses in alpacas due to lowered production of fibre and meat. Although no anthelmintics are registered for use in alpacas, various classes of anthelmintics are frequently used to control parasitic gastroenteritis in alpacas in Australia and other countries. Very little is known about the current worm control practices as well as the efficacy of anthelmintics used against common GINs of alpacas. This study aimed to assess the existing worm control practices used by Australian alpaca farmers and to quantify the efficacy of commonly used anthelmintics against GINs of alpacas. METHODS: An online questionnaire survey was conducted to assess current worm control practices on 97 Australian alpaca farms, with an emphasis on the use of anthelmintics. Of this group of 97 alpaca farms, 20 were selected to assess the efficacy of eight anthelmintics and/or their combinations (closantel, fenbendazole ivermectin, monepantel, moxidectin and a combination of levamisole, closantel, albendazole, abamectin) using the faecal egg count reduction test (FECRT). A multiplexed-tandem PCR (MT-PCR) was used to identify the prevalent nematode genera/species. RESULTS: The response rate for the questionnaire was 94% (91/97). Almost half of the respondents kept alpacas with sheep and cattle, and 26% of respondents allowed alpacas to co-graze with these ruminants. Although only 63% respondents perceived worms to be an important health concern for alpacas, the majority of respondents (89%) used anthelmintics to control GINs of alpacas. The commonly used anthelmintics were macrocyclic lactones, monepantel, benzimidazoles, levamisole, closantel and their combinations, and they were typically administered at the dose rate recommended for sheep. The FECRT results showed that a combination of levamisole, closantel, albendazole and abamectin was the most effective dewormer followed by single drugs, including monepantel, moxidectin, closantel, fenbendazole and ivermectin. Haemonchus spp. were the most commonly resistant nematodes followed by Trichostrongylus spp., Camelostrongylus mentulatus, Ostertagia ostertagi and Cooperia spp. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study aimed at assessing worm control practices and efficacy of commonly used anthelmintics in alpacas in Australia. Our findings document the extent of anthelmintics resistance on Australian alpaca farms and identify those anthelmintics that are still effective against GINs of alpacas.
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    Multiplexed-tandem PCR (MT-PCR) assay to detect and differentiate gastrointestinal nematodes of alpacas
    Rashid, MH ; Gebrekidan, H ; Jabbar, A (BMC, 2018-06-28)
    BACKGROUND: Gastrointestinal nematodes (GINs) frequently infect South American camelids (alpacas and llamas) and cause economic losses due to reduced production of fiber, meat and/or leather. Our knowledge about the epidemiology and diagnosis of GINs in llamas and alpacas is limited, and reliable keys for the identification of the third-stage larvae (L3s) of some common nematodes (such as Camelostrogylus mentulatus) that infect alpacas and llamas remain undescribed. In this study, we modified two existing semi-quantitative multiplexed-tandem (MT)-PCR assays, originally developed for the GINs of sheep and cattle, to reliably detect and differentiate the common genera/species of GINs in the faeces of alpacas. RESULTS: Following the establishment of the MT-PCR assay using positive and negative control samples, alpaca faecal samples were tested to validate the assay to detect and differentiate nematode genera/species, including C. mentulatus, Cooperia spp., Haemonchus spp., Oesophagostomum spp., Ostertagia ostertagi, Teladorsagia circumcincta and Trichostrongylus spp. Sequencing of the MT-PCR products demonstrated specific (100%) amplification of the target nematode genera/species. Additionally, a comparison of results of the MT-PCR assay and the morphological identification of adult worms collected from the same 35 alpacas revealed that there was a good agreement (37-94%) between the two methods. However, some discrepancies were observed between the results of the MT-PCR assay and the morphological identification of adult worms. CONCLUSIONS: The MT-PCR platform is an accurate, sensitive and rapid method for the diagnosis of GINs in alpacas, and it can be used as a substitute to larval culture to identify common nematodes in the faeces of alpacas and llamas.