Serum haptoglobin response in red deer naturally infected with tuberculosis

J. Vicente, J. Martinez-Guijosa, A. Tvarijonaviciute, I. G. Fernandez-de Mera, C. Gortazar, J. J. Ceron, S. Martinez-Subiela

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    3 Citations (Scopus)


    © 2019 Elsevier Ltd The analysis of haptoglobin (Hp) serum concentration is a very sensitive, but non-specific, indicator of inflammation or infection. Methods to accurately diagnose infection in vivo in wildlife are usually constrained by low sensitivity due to the effects of stress on individual immune response and the challenging logistics of performing tests in the wild. Firstly, we sought to determine serum Hp concentration in red deer (Cervus elaphus) naturally infected with bovine tuberculosis (TB). Secondly, we assessed the complementary diagnostic value of serum Hp levels in conjunction with the cervical comparative skin test (CCT) performed in a subsample (n = 33). Serum Hp concentrations were significantly higher in TB-infected individuals (based on the presence of macroscopic lesions confirmed by culture) compared to those uninfected. In addition, serum Hp significantly changed with the type of animal handling, with captured and handled animals showing higher levels of Hp than hunted animals. Four out of 6 TB positive individuals that tested negative to the CCT (false negatives) showed Hp levels higher than the 95th percentile of healthy animals. These findings indicate that an acute phase response develops in animals with TB. In this paper, we demonstrate for the first time that an acute phase protein can provide a complementary assessment for specific diagnosis tests in wild species.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)25-30
    JournalComparative Immunology, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019


    • Acute phase proteins
    • Cervus elaphus
    • Comparative skin test
    • Haptoglobin
    • Mycobacterium tuberculosiscomplex


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