Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Veterinary Research and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

Clostridium perfringens strains from bovine enterotoxemia cases are not superior in in vitro production of alpha toxin, perfringolysin O and proteolytic enzymes

Evy Goossens1, Stefanie Verherstraeten1, Leen Timbermont1, Bonnie R Valgaeren2, Bart Pardon2, Freddy Haesebrouck1, Richard Ducatelle1, Piet R Deprez2 and Filip Van Immerseel1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pathology, Bacteriology and Avian Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133, B-9820 Merelbeke, Belgium

2 Department of Internal Medicine and Clinical Biology of Large Animals, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133, B-9820 Merelbeke, Belgium

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Veterinary Research 2014, 10:32  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-10-32

Published: 30 January 2014

Abstract

Background

Bovine enterotoxemia is a major cause of mortality in veal calves. Predominantly veal calves of beef cattle breeds are affected and losses due to enterotoxemia may account for up to 20% of total mortality. Clostridium perfringens type A is considered to be the causative agent. Recently, alpha toxin and perfringolysin O have been proposed to play an essential role in the development of disease. However, other potential virulence factors also may play a role in the pathogenesis of bovine enterotoxemia. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether strains originating from bovine enterotoxemia cases were superior in in vitro production of virulence factors (alpha toxin, perfringolysin O, mucinase, collagenase) that are potentially involved in enterotoxemia. To approach this, a collection of strains originating from enterotoxemia cases was compared to bovine strains isolated from healthy animals and to strains isolated from other animal species.

Results

Strains originating from bovine enterotoxemia cases produced variable levels of alpha toxin and perfringolysin O that were not significantly different from levels produced by strains isolated from healthy calves and other animal species. All tested strains exhibited similar mucinolytic activity independent of the isolation source. A high variability in collagenase activity between strains could be observed, and no higher collagenase levels were produced in vitro by strains isolated from enterotoxemia cases.

Conclusions

Bovine enterotoxemia strains do not produce higher levels of alpha toxin, perfringolysin O, mucinase and collagenase, as compared to strains derived from healthy calves and other animal species in vitro.