Aspergillus fumigatus is a common pathogen in domestic fowl and confined wild birds and a emerging timeserving fungous pathogen in immunocompromised worlds. Although invasive brooder pneumonia is often reported in free-ranging wild birds, the incidence and epidemiology of the disease in a natural scene is unknown.

We late reported endemic eruptions of invasive brooder pneumonia at white stork nesting sites near to human habitation in Germany with important subsequent genteelness losingss. Therefore, we hypothesized that A. fumigatus strains with higher virulency in birds may hold evolved in this environment. Sixty clinical and environmental A. fumigatus isolates from six affected nesting sites were genotyped by microsatellite analysis utilizing the STRAf-assay. The isolates showed a singular high genomic diverseness and, contrary to the initial hypothesis, clinical and environmental isolates did non constellate significantly.

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Interestingly, storks were infected with two to four different genotypes and in most instances both copulating types MAT-1.1 and MAT-1.2 were present within the same specimen. The bulk of selected clinical and environmental strains exhibited similar virulency in an in vivo infection theoretical account utilizing embryonated biddy eggs. Noteworthy, virulency was non associated with one distinguishable fungous coupling type.

These consequences further back up the premise that the bulk of A. fumigatus strains have the possible to do disease in susceptible hosts. In white storks, immatureness of the immune system during the first three hebdomads of age may heighten susceptibleness to invasive brooder pneumonia.Keywords: brooder pneumonia ; genotyping ; pathogenicity ; epidemiology


Aspergillus fumigatus is a omnipresent, saprophytic mold that can be isolated from a assortment of home grounds universe broad. As a facultative pathogen, it can do assorted disease manifestations, including dangerous invasive brooder pneumonia ( IA ) in animate beings and worlds, and has emerged as an progressively of import pathogen for immunocompromised persons, e.g. graft receivers and oncological patients ( reviewed in Erjavec et al. , 2009 ; Maschmeyer et al.

, 2007 ) . However, even though the Numberss of human instances are increasing, IA is still relatively rare and affects chiefly predisposed persons. Similarily, brooder pneumonia is merely periodically observed in other mammalian species ( Tell, 2005 ) .

In comparing to mammals, birds are extremely susceptible to respiratory infection with A. fumigatus ( Tell, 2005 ) . Pneumonic invasive brooder pneumonia is a common disease in birds doing important economic losingss in domestic fowl industry ( Saif et al. , 2008 ) . Outbreaks can impact full flocks with mortality rates of up to 30 % ( Dyar et al. , 1984 ; Pollock, 2003 ; Zafra et al.

, 2008 ) . IA has besides been good documented for wild birds kept in imprisonment ( Flach et al. , 1990 ; Saif et al. , 2008 ; Wolff et al. , 1992 ) . Recently, we reported for the first clip that acute fungous pneumonia can stand for a major cause of mortality in free-ranging wild birds before fledging ( Olias et al. , 2010 ) .

Entire genteelness losingss of white storks ( Ciconia Ciconia ) over several consecutive old ages have been documented in Germany for several nesting sites since 2005. Of all white stork biddies necropsied in 2007 and 2008 ( n=101 ) , 44.6 % had infection with filiform Fungis in the lungs with 94.

1 % prevalence below three hebdomads of age. Importantly, in 58 % of reported fungous infections A. fumigatus has been identified as causative agent. This observation non merely emphasized the importance of A. fumigatus as avian pathogen but besides suggested an endemic infection. The epidemiology of human IA in infirmary scenes has been addressed by several groups ( Bertout et al. , 2001 ; Chazalet et al. , 1998 ; de Valk et al.

, 2007a ; Rosehart et al. , 2002 ) , but merely a individual survey addressed the epidemiology in domestic fowl ( Lair-Fulleringer et al. , 2003 ) , and late in confined penguins ( Alvarez-Perez et al.

, 2010 ) . The chief purpose of this survey was, therefore, to look into whether specific deadly genotypes can be identified in morbid stork biddies at the eruption sites.As white storks breed near to human habitation on edifices and semisynthetic constructions, and clinical eruptions of IA in domestic fowl have been attributed to litter taint ( Dyar et al. , 1984 ) , we included possible environmental beginnings of human beginning for A. fumigatus in our survey. We genotyped 60 clinical and environmental A. fumigatus isolates from six geographically distinguishable eruption sites in Germany utilizing a microsatellite check based on nine short tandem repetition ( STR ) markers, which has been shown to possess high prejudiced power and duplicability in epidemiological probes ( Balajee et al.

, 2008 ; de Valk et al. , 2009 ; de Valk et al. , 2005 ; de Valk et al. , 2007b ) . Based on the typewriting consequences, the virulency of selected strains was analyzed in a new alternate infection theoretical account utilizing embryonated poulet eggs ( Jacobsen et al.

, 2010 ) .

Materials and methods

Beginning of strains

The strains used in this survey are a subset of strains obtained from environmental beginnings and clinical specimens sampled from six nesting sites ( N ) in the federal province of Brandenburg, Germany, in 2007 to 2009, denotated as nsA-nsF. The geographical distances between the nesting sites were 3 to 140 stat mis. An overview of the A. fumigatus isolates obtained and the subset that was later chosen harmonizing to their growing form ( de Hoog et al. , 2000 ) and used in this survey for farther molecular and virulency analysis is given in Table 1.

Environmental strains were isolated from nest stuff and compost tonss of the nesting sites nsA, nsB, National Security Councils and nsE. The beginnings were identified by voluntaries who had observed parent storks roll uping stuff from those peculiar compost tonss before come ining the nest. For fungous isolation, 20 gms of works stuff from each sample were incubated with 20 milliliters unfertile PBS in unfertile Whirl-Pak® plastic bags ( Nasco, Fort Atkinson, WI ) for 1h at 37 & A ; deg ; C. Subsequently, the fluid was filtered ( 40 ?m cell strainer ; BD, Franklin Lakes, NJ ) and 2 milliliters were plated onto solid malt-extract agar ( Roth, Karlsruhe, Germany ) supplemented with streptomycin sulphate and Chloromycetin ( Roth, Karlsruhe, Germany ) and farther processed as described antecedently ( Olias et al. , 2010 ) .Clinical isolates were isolated station mortem by plating lung stuff from asleep biddies obtained during sterile autopsies onto solid malt-extract agar as described antecedently ( Olias et al. , 2010 ) . The strains included in this survey derived from the lungs of 10 white stork biddies with histologically confirmed pneumonic IA.

These birds originate from the above mentioned nesting sites in 2007 and 2008. Additionally, A. fumigatus strains were isolated in 2009 from the lungs of two biddies from nesting site National Security Agency, where eruptions of IA occurred in four of five consecutive genteelness seasons.Isolates were ab initio identified as A.

fumigatus by their macroscopic and microscopic morphology ( de Hoog et al. , 2000 ) and their ability to turn at 52 & A ; deg ; C. Additionally, three mention discolorations ( Af 293, ATCC46645 ; CEA17?akuB ) were included in this survey.

An overview of beginning and appellation of all strains used in this survey is given in Table 2.

Genomic fingerprinting by microsatellite assay

Genomic fingerprinting was performed on 60 isolates from the six different nesting sites and three mention discolorations ( Af 293, ATCC46645 ; CEA17?akuB ) . Fungal DNA was extracted and purified from all isolates as described antecedently ( Olias et al. , 2010 ) . For PCR elaboration, nine short tandem repetitions ( STRs ) were used consisting the three multiplex panels STRAf2, 3 and 4 ( de Valk et al. , 2005 ) . Primers were labeled with carboxyfluorescein ( FAM ) , hexachlorocarboxyfluorescein ( HEX ) or tetrachlorocarboxyfluorescein ( TET ) , severally, and thermocycling was performed as described ( de Valk et al.

, 2005 ) . The PCR merchandises obtained for the polymorphous venue were assorted with the GeneScan 500 Rox Size Standard ( Applied Biosystems, Foster City, CA ) and analyzed with the GeneScan plan on a ABI 3730XL DNA analyser ( Applied Biosystems ) , harmonizing to the maker ‘s instructions. The exact figure of repetitions in the obtained PCR merchandises were determined by building of allelomorphic ladders.

Selected PCR merchandises stand foring suited places within the span of allelomorphs of a polymorphous venue were cloned into pDrive ( Quiagen, Hilden, Germany ) . Plasmid DNA was purified and sequenced with cosmopolitan M13 primers.The figure of repetitions of the nine STR venue of all isolates were analyzed by UPGMA constellating utilizing BioNumerics 4.

5 package ( Applied Maths, Sint-Martens-Latem, Belgium ) with the multistate categorical similarity coefficient. Clonal bunchs were defined as isolates with the same figure of repeat units in all nine venue. Microevolutionary events were defined as alterations of less than two repeat units in a individual venue of isolates ( Balajee et al. , 2008 ) .

Preparation of conidiospore suspensions for infection experiments

Malt agar angle home bases were inoculated with conidiospore and incubated at room temperature for seven yearss. Conidia were suspended in unfertile phosphate-buffered saline ( PBS ) incorporating 0.1 % Tween 20 ( AppliChem GmbH, Darmstadt, Germany ) and filtered through a 40 µm cell strainer ( BD Bioscience, Heidelberg, Germany ) . After numbering the figure of conidiospore, the suspension was diluted with PBS to the desired concentration and used within a few hours. PBS entirely served as negative control for infection experiments.

Infection theoretical account

Fertilized poulet eggs of the White Leghorn strain were obtained from a local manufacturer and stored at 8 & A ; deg ; C for a upper limit of seven yearss prior to incubation.

Incubation was performed at 37.6 & A ; deg ; C and 50-60 % comparative humidness in a specialised brooder ( BSS 300, Grumbach, Germany ) . From the 4th twenty-four hours of incubation onwards, the eggs were turned four times a twenty-four hours until infection on twenty-four hours 10. Vitality was assessed daily by candling. Infection of embryonated eggs was performed as described antecedently ( Jacobsen et al.

, 2010 ) . Briefly, after pass overing the shell with a germicide ( Braunol, Braun, Melsungen, Germany ) the shell was perforated at the blunt terminal and one longitudinal side utilizing a tooth doctor drill. An unreal air chamber at the longitudinal side was so formed by using negative force per unit area at the hole in the blunt terminal. After perforation of the shell membrane 0.1 milliliter inoculant incorporating 103 or 104 conidiospore was applied via the unreal air chamber onto the chorioallantoic membrane ( CAM ) utilizing a 1 milliliter syringe. The holes were so sealed with paraffin. Survival was monitored for up to eight yearss by candling. Twenty eggs per group were infected and experiments were repeated twice.

Survival informations were plotted as Kaplan-Meyer curves and tested for important differences by the log rank trial utilizing Graph Pad Prism Version 5.00 for Windows ( GraphPad Software, San Diego, California, USA ) .


Genomic fingerprinting and coupling type

To find whether: ( a ) multiple distinguishable isolates infected single biddies, ( B ) clinical isolates were related to each other, and ( degree Celsius ) clinical isolates could be traced to an environmental beginning, we performed microsatellite checks based on nine short tandem repetition ( STR ) markers. Sixty clinical and environmental isolates from six geographically distinguishable eruption sites in Germany were used. Twenty-nine of the 60 isolates originated from station mortem samples of 10 stork biddies, and two to four isolates per biddy were analyzed.

Based on microsatellite analyses, indistinguishable isolates were identified in two instances: ( a ) Two indistinguishable isolates ( D08-L-2b and -L-2c ) were found in the lung of a biddy from nesting site D. The 3rd isolate from this biddy ( D08-L-2a ) , nevertheless, was genetically distinguishable. ( B ) At nesting site Angstrom in 2008, chick 1 harboured a strain ( A08-L-1b ) which was indistinguishable to an environmental isolate ( A08-C-2b ) found in a compost pile near the nesting site in the same twelvemonth. ( Fig. 1 ) .

Two extra strains isolated from this biddy ( A08-L-1a and A08-L-1c ) differed merely by one repetition in venue 3A from each other but were non related to the 3rd clinical isolate or indistinguishable environmental strain. One clinical isolate of 2009 and one environmental isolate of 2007 from the same nesting site differed merely in a individual allelomorph alteration in venue 3C to clinical isolates C08-L-1c and C08-L-1a, severally, from nesting site C in 24 stat mis distance. Isolates from nsB, nsE and National Science Foundation had unrelated genotypes.Among environmental isolates, copulating types MAT-1.1 and MAT-1.2 were every bit distributed with 51.

6 % of the isolates being MAT-1.1 and 48.4 % MAT-1.2 ( Tab. 3 ) .

MAT-1.1 was found more frequently than MAT-1.2 in clinical isolates ( 58.6 % and 41.

4 % , severally ) ; nevertheless, from six of the 10 biddies which harboured more than one genetically distinguishable isolate, strains of both copulating types were isolated ( Fig. 1 ) .

Virulence check

Based on the typewriting consequences, the virulency potency of selected strains was assessed in a fresh alternate infection theoretical account utilizing embryonated poulet eggs ( Jacobsen et al. , 2010 ) . In a first set of experiments we compared the virulency of isolates from biddies with matching isolates from nesting stuff and environmental isolates from compost tonss that had served as a beginning for nesting stuff. The research lab strain CEA17?akuB which had antecedently been shown to be deadly in murine theoretical accounts ( da Silva Ferreira et al. , 2006 ) and embryonated eggs ( Jacobsen et al. , 2010 ) , was used as mention strain.

The bulk of all strains tested showed identical virulency potency compared to CEA17?akuB ( Fig. 2 A-C ) . One clinical isolate from nsE ( E07-L-1a ; Fig. 2B ) and one isolate from nesting stuff at site F ( F07-N-1b ; Fig. 2C ) caused significantly higher mortality rates than CEA17?akuB. Surprisingly, another clinical isolate, F07-L-1a reproducibly displayed strongly reduced virulency ( Fig. 2C and D ) but normal growing on malt agar ( informations non shown ) .

Since the biddy from which F07-L-1a was isolated harboured two extra, genetically distinguishable isolates, we compared the virulency of all three isolates ( Fig. 2D ) . In contrast to F07-L-1a, F07-L-1b and -1c were able to kill septic embryos to a similar extent as the mention strain CEA17?akuB, albeit with a one or two twenty-four hours hold, severally.

Finally, we compared the virulency potency of five clinical isolates from two back-to-back old ages from National Security Agency. All five strains were found to hold high virulency with two strains ( A09-L-1a and -1b ) doing mortality significantly faster than the mention strain ( Fig. 3 ) .


Hospital-associated eruptions of brooder pneumonia in worlds have led to several surveies look intoing whether patients within the same infirmary carry similar strains and whether environmental beginnings could be identified. In general, these surveies revealed a high familial variableness of clinical A. fumigatus isolates ( Araujo et al. , 2009 ; de Valk et al. , 2005 ; Debeaupuis et al. , 1997 ; Lair-Fulleringer et al. , 2003 ) . However, some surveies identified indistinguishable isolates in several patients and relevant environmental beginnings ( Balajee et al.

, 2008 ; Menotti et al. , 2005 ; Warris et al. , 2003 ) .

The epidemiology of avian brooder pneumonia has been merely barely addressed and focused on domestic fowl ( Lair-Fulleringer et al. , 2003 ) and confined penguins ( Alvarez-Perez et al. , 2010 ) , the latter species being extremely susceptible to fungous infections in imprisonment ( Flach et al. , 1990 ) .

We late identified brooder pneumonia as a major cause of mortality in free-ranging white stork biddies, taking to major losingss in subsequent old ages ( Olias et al. , 2010 ) . White storks concept big nests of sticks lined with branchlets, grasses and other soft natural or human-made stuff and these nests frequently are reused in subsequent old ages ( Hancock et al. , 1992 ) . Importantly, grownup storks invariably collect farther nesting stuff during the genteelness season that is frequently taken from nearby compost tonss ( von Blotzheim et al. , 1971 ; personal observation ) .

Since A. fumigatus is normally reported on all kinds of biodegrading works stuff ( Beffa et al. , 1998 ; Ryckeboer et al. , 2003 ) , and has besides often been isolated in high concentrations from bird nests ( Apinis and Pugh, 1967 ; Hub & A ; aacute ; lek et al. , 1973 ) , we hypothesized that nesting stuff and compost tonss are major beginnings for infection of biddies and that A. fumigatus strains with higher virulency in birds might hold evolved in this environment. To prove this hypothesis, we combined microsatellite genotyping with subsequent in vivo virulency analysis of selected clinical and environmental isolates.

Consistent with other surveies, our consequences show a high familial diverseness of the A. fumigatus population at each eruption site. As fungous spores are easy distributed, we expected high strain diverseness within the environmental isolates. Consequently, the environmental strains typed may stand for merely a little portion of the population potentially inhaled by the affected birds. This impression is supported by a recent epidemiologic survey by Chazalet et Al. ( 1998 ) which extrapolates that a patient with nosocomial IA inhales about 5,000 alone genotypes over a period of three months.

Therefore, the putatively high figure of A. fumigatus strains in the environment in combination with the limited figure of samples taken for this survey can easy explicate why we found merely one genotype in both, an septic lung and the environment of the same bird. However, if strains with version to the avian host do be, we would hold expected to happen the clinical isolate aggregation to be enriched for certain genotypes, particularly amongst biddies of the same nesting site. In contrast to this hypothesis, we failed to happen indistinguishable or extremely similar genotypes amongst clinical isolates from different birds or distinguishable bunch of environmental isolates. This suggests that even at nesting sites where eruptions of IA occurred in up to four consecutive genteelness seasons, the composing of A. fumigatus strains as portion of the nest ‘s microflora is invariably altering by debut of conidiospore by grownup storks via works stuff, provender, feather or by air ( Hubalek, 1978 ) . However, the absence of bunch formation is in harmony with old familial, biochemical and immunological surveies that have reported no association of a peculiar A.

fumigatus genotype with infective potency in worlds ( Bart-Delabesse et al. , 1999 ; Bart-Delabesse et al. , 1998 ; Debeaupuis et al. , 1997 ) .Although some surveies suggest a lower virulency potency of environmental strains when compared to clinical strains ( Aufauvre-Brown et al.

, 1998 ; Mondon et al. , 1996 ; Peden and Rhoades, 1992 ) , there is turning grounds that the pathogenicity of A. fumigatus is multifactorial, affecting webs of cistrons that have likely evolved as a consequence of microbic interactions in its primary ecological niche and that most environmental strains have the possible to do disease in susceptible hosts ( Brock, 2009 ; Askew, 2008 ; Tekaia and Latg & A ; eacute ; , 2005 ) .To find the virulency potency of the clinical and environmental strains isolated in this survey, we tested selected strains in an infection theoretical account which we have late shown to be suited to observe virulency differences between genetically defined strains ( Jacobsen et al.

, 2010 ) . The bulk of strains, independent of their beginning, demonstrated a virulency potency similar to our chosen mention strain, CEA17?akuB. CEA17?akuB is a derivative of a clinical strain from an IA patient ( d’Enfert, 1996 ) and has been shown to be deadly in murine theoretical accounts ( da Silva Ferreira et al.

, 2006 ) . Although three clinical stork isolates tested showed increased virulency, the virulency of the other six clinical isolates tested was identical from that of the environmental strains. Furthermore, we found one clinical isolate to be significantly reduced in virulency. This highlights the general job that civilization consequences from IA specimens may be influenced by colonisation, inhaled spores and taints during the procedure of trying ( Rickerts et al. , 2007 ; Spreadbury et al. , 1993 ) .

Therefore, the isolation of a strain from a clinical or station mortem specimen does non needfully bespeak high virulency and the usage of complex infection theoretical accounts is necessary to measure the virulency potency of A. fumigatus isolates.In worlds and late in confined penguins polyclonal A. fumigatus infections have been identified in instances of respiratory IA ( Alvarez-Perez et al. , 2010 ; Bertout et al. , 2001 ; Symoens et al.

, 2001 ) . However, other probes suggest that merely one or two genotypes are normally involved in human pneumonic IA ( Bart-Delabesse et al. , 1999 ; Bart-Delabesse et al. , 1998 ; Girardin et al. , 1994 ) .

In stork biddies, we found at least two and up to four distinguishable A. fumigatus genotypes in each clinical specimen, consistent with the high familial diverseness of the environmental isolates and the hypothesis that the bulk of environmental strains have the possible to do IA in susceptible hosts. Interestingly, although copulating type MAT-1.

1 was somewhat overrepresented amongst clinical isolates, we normally found coinfections with strains of both copulating types. Furthermore, the virulency of MAT-1.1 and MAT-1.2 strains in embryonated eggs was identical, proposing that the virulency potency is non linked to a specific coupling type. This contradicts a survey which suggested that MAT-1.1 is associated with higher virulency ( Alvarez-Perez et al.

, 2009 ) . The coexistence of both copulating types in the same lung is of extra involvement in birds, as it has been good documented that A. fumigatus regularily sporulates in the lung and air pouch system of inveterate and frequently subclinically infected birds ( Ainsworth and Rewell, 1949 ; Di Somma et al. , 2007 ; Richard et al. , 1984 ) . With the recent find of a sexual rhythm in A. fumigatus ( O’Gorman et al.

, 2009 ) there is a theoretical possibility that the inveterate septic avian respiratory piece of land might supply an environment for coupling.In drumhead, our consequences show a high familial diverseness of A. fumigatus strains involved in natural eruptions of pneumonic IA in free-ranging white stork biddies. Although we were able to place clinical isolates with a higher virulency in an embryonated egg theoretical account, the overall informations did non back up the hypothesis that distinct A. fumigatus strains with a higher virulency are responsible for the eruptions. Furthermore, except for one strain, the genotyped clinical isolates could non be traced to an environmental infection beginning. Alternatively, the consequences of this survey strongly back up our old proposal that immune immatureness in the first three hebdomads of age is a major predisposing factor for IA in white storks ( Jovani and Tella, 2004 ; Olias et al.

, 2010 ) . Furthermore, stork biddies were normally found to be coinfected with two or more A. fumigatus strains that had coincident coupling types.