Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Mycoplasma gallisepticum infection in the grey partridge Perdix perdix: outbreak description, histopathology, biochemistry and antioxidant parameters

Frantisek Vitula1, Lucie Peckova1, Hana Bandouchova1, Miroslav Pohanka2, Ladislav Novotny3, David Jira1, Jiri Kral1, Karel Ondracek1, Jitka Osickova1, Dagmar Zendulkova4, Katerina Rosenbergova4, Frantisek Treml4 and Jiri Pikula1*

  • * Corresponding author: Jiri Pikula

  • † Equal contributors

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Veterinary Ecology and Environmental Protection, Faculty of Veterinary Hygiene and Ecology, University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Brno, Czech Republic

2 Centre of Advanced Studies, Faculty of Military Health Sciences, University of Defence, Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic

3 Department of Pathological Morphology and Parasitology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Brno, Czech Republic

4 Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Brno, Czech Republic

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BMC Veterinary Research 2011, 7:34  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-7-34

Published: 8 July 2011



The grey partridge is an important game bird in Europe that has declined considerably over the last decades. The production and release of farm-bred birds can be threatened by infectious agents. The objective of this study was to describe the outbreak, pathology, and blood and tissue biochemical responses in a flock of grey partridges naturally infected with Mycoplasma gallisepticum.


Morbidity and mortality rates were 100% and 60%, respectively. Necropsy revealed an accumulation of caseous exudate within the infraorbital sinuses, tracheitis, pneumonia and airsacculitis. There were significant increases in activities of lactate dehydrogenase, creatine kinase and amylase, and levels of total protein and glucose in Mycoplasma-infected birds when compared to control. Catalase showed significantly lower activity in the heart, lungs, liver and gonads of Mycoplasma-infected birds. Glutathione-S-transferase activity was elevated in the eye and the associated infraorbital sinus and kidneys, and decreased in the liver. Decreased levels of reduced glutathione were found in the heart, kidneys, liver and gonads. The activity of glutathione reductase was lower only in the lungs. Compared to healthy birds, mycoplasmosis in the grey partridge caused significant differences in the level of lipid peroxidation in lungs and plasma (p < 0.05), while the ferric reducing antioxidant power was lower in the heart and kidneys (p < 0.01). Significant correlations among responses of the antioxidant parameters were found namely in the heart, lungs, spleen, liver and plasma. There were also numerous significant inter-tissue correlations of all the studied antioxidant parameters.


The present study demonstrates the high susceptibility of grey partridges to natural infection by M. gallisepticum, the severity of the disease based on histopathology, and the modulation of blood chemical profiles and oxidative stress-associated parameters in the avian hosts, thus enhancing the understanding of the pathogenesis of mycoplasmosis in birds. Moreover, the reported reference values can be useful for the evaluation of the state of health in grey partridges.