Genetic diversity and hematological and biochemical alterations in Alouatta primates naturally infected with hemoplasmas in Brazil
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Mycoplasma spp. and Bartonella spp. are Gram-negative bacteria transmitted by arthropod vectors that infect red blood cells of several mammal species. This study investigated the occurrence and genetic diversity of hemoplasmas and Bartonella spp. in 68 howler monkeys kept in captivity in Sao Paulo, a southeastern state in Brazil. In addition, possible hematological, biochemical and electrophoretic changes of serum proteins associated with the occurrence of hemoplasmas and Bartonella spp. in captive primates were also investigated. The cPCR results showed that all sampled howler monkeys were negative for Bartonella spp. based on the gltA gene. The cPCR results indicated that 18 (26.47%) non-human primates (NHP) were positive for hemoplasmas based on the 16S rRNA gene. Monocyte and lymphocyte counts were higher in hemoplasma-positive howlers (P < 0.05). Platelet counts decreased in nonhuman primates (NHP) positive for hemoplasmas (P < 0.05). The results from the blood serum proteinogram and biochemistry analyses were not significantly different between NHPs positive and negative for hemotrophic mycoplasmas. Phylogenetic analysis using Bayesian Inference (BI) based on the 16S rRNA gene positioned the obtained sequences close to 'Candidatus Mycoplasma kahanei'. The analysis of sequence diversity of the 16S rRNA gene showed that 5 different genotypes are circulating in NHP in Brazil and in the world; besides, a clear separation between the sequences of hemoplasmas that infect NHP of the Sapajus and Alouatta genus in Brazil was found, probably corresponding to two different species. The pathogenic potential of this hemoplasma species in NHP should be further investigated.
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