Submitted to: International Journal for Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/4/2005
Publication Date: 5/1/2005
Citation: Dubey, J.P., Sreekumar, C., Donovan, T., Rozmanec, M., Rosenthal, B.M., Vianna, M.B., Davis, W.P., Belden, J.S. 2005. Redescription of Besnoitia bennetti (Protozoa: Apicomplexa) from the donkey (Equus asinus). International Journal for Parasitology. 35:659-672. Interpretive Summary: Besnoitia species are single-celled parasites that cause morbidity and mortality in animals. Scientists at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center and Cornell University, New York, describe the structure and life cycle of Besnoitia bennetti from donkeys. They report successful treatment of this debilitating disease. The results will be of interest to biologists, parasitologists and veterinarians.
Technical Abstract: Besnoitia bennetti tissue cysts were found in four naturally-infected donkeys (Equus asinus) from the USA. Infectivity of its bradyzoites, and tachyzoites to animals and cell culture was studied. The bradyzoites were not infectious to out-bred Swiss Webster mice, rabbits or gerbils. When fed tissue cysts, cats did not excrete oocysts. However, the parasite was infectious to interferon-gamma gene knock out mice. The parasite from tissues of two donkeys was grown successfully in bovine monocyte monolayers for the first time. Non-dividing, uninucleate tachyzoites were approximately 6 x 1.5 µm in size. Longitudinally-cut bradyzoites in tissue sections measured 8.7 x 1.9 µm. Ultrastructurally, tachyzoites and bradyzoites were similar to those in other Besnoitia species, and in particular to parasites described from cattle (Besnoitia besnoiti) and reindeer (Besnoitia tarandi), in that their bradyzoites lacked enigmatic bodies. Based on comparative analysis of three portions of nuclear ribosomal DNA (the small and large subunits and the first internal transcribed spacer) B. bennetti was found to be more closely related to the other congeners described from ungulates. The parasite was formally redescribed and specimens deposited in the US National Parasite Collections.