Adherent/invasive capacities of bovine-associated Aerococcus viridans contribute to pathogenesis of acute mastitis in a murine model.


Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, China Agricultural University, Beijing, 100193, PR China. Electronic address: [Email]


Aerococcus viridans, a firmicutes bacteria widespread in the environment, is increasingly isolated from humans and animals, especially cows with mastitis. However, its pathogenicity in the bovine mammary gland is unclear. The objective was to explore pathogenic potential of putative virulent and avirulent A. viridans in murine systemic and intramammary infection and mechanistically in cultured bovine mammary epithelial cells (bMECs). Virulence of 9 strains of A. viridans, isolated from subclinical cases of mastitis, was tested for their ability to kill mice when systemically inoculated. Two A. viridans strains, causing highest and lowest survival rate in mice, were selected further as putative avirulent and virulent strains, respectively. Staphylococcus aureus N305 was used as a positive control. After intramammary inoculation, the virulent strain survived and replicated in the murine mammary gland for 9 d, whereas the avirulent strain was eliminated within 3 d. The virulent strain induced a robust inflammatory reaction in the mammary gland, characterized by acute histopathological changes, increased myeloperoxidase activity and higher expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF-α, IL-6, IL-1β) compared to the avirulent strain. The virulent strain produced CAMP factor and exhibited strong cytotoxic effects (LDH release) and adhering and invasive abilities in contact with bMECs. Adhesion and invasion of virulent strain to bMECs was further confirmed by scanning and transmission electron microscopy; there was severe damage, including cytomembrane disruption, swollen mitochondria and loss of organelles. In conclusion, the putative virulent strain of A. viridans activated a strong neutrophil-based inflammatory response in the mammary gland, attributed to its ability to adhere to and invade mammary epithelium.


Aerococcus viridans,adherence,invasion,mastitis,murine model,

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