<em>Mycoplasma gallisepticum</em> Infection in the Grey Partridge

Researchers in the Czech Republic have found that grey partridges are highly susceptible to natural infection by M. gallisepticum.
calendar icon 24 September 2011
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The grey partridge (Perdix perdix) is an important game bird in Europe that has declined considerably over the last decades, according to Frantisek Vitula and colleagues at the University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Brno in the Czech Republic. In their paper published recently in BMC Veterinary Research, they explain that the production and release of farm-bred birds can be threatened by infectious agents. The objective of their study was to describe the outbreak, pathology, and blood and tissue biochemical responses in a flock of grey partridges naturally infected with M. gallisepticum.

Morbidity and mortality rates were 100 per cent and 60 per cent, 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.

Vitula and co-authors conclude that their 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, they add, the reported reference values can be useful for the evaluation of the state of health in grey partridges.


Vitula F., L. Peckova, H. Bandouchova, M. Pohanka, L. Novotny, D. Jira, J. Kral, K. Ondracek, J. Osickova, D. Zendulkova, K. Rosenbergova, F. Treml and J. Pikula. 2011. Mycoplasma gallisepticum infection in the grey partridge Perdix perdix: outbreak description, histopathology, biochemistry and antioxidant parameters. BMC Veterinary Research 7:34. doi:10.1186/1746-6148-7-34

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September 2011
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