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Serologic detection of Brachyspira (Serpulina) hyodysenteriae infections

  • T. La (a1) and D.J. Hampson (a1)

Swine dysentery (SD) caused by the intestinal spirochete Brachyspira hyodysenteriae is an economically important disease in pig-producing countries throughout the world. To date, no specific serologic assay is commercially available for the diagnosis of pigs with SD. Several serologic techniques have been identified in the past; however, these tests have all used either whole-cell proteins or lipopolysaccharide (LPS) as the antigen. Whole-cell antigens are plagued with false-positive reactions due to cross-reactivity with common proteins shared with other spirochetes. LPS antigens produce fewer false-positives; however, false-negatives may result due to LPS components being serogroup-specific. Generally, these techniques are useful for detecting infected herds, but are unreliable for the detection of individual infected pigs. In order to develop improved serologic tests it will be necessary to identify suitable diagnostic antigens, in particular immunogenic cell-surface structures which are specific to B. hyodysenteriae but common amongst different strains of the species. Recently, we identified and cloned a 30-kDa outer membrane lipoprotein (BmpB) which is specific to B. hyodysenteriae and is recognized by experimentally and naturally infected pigs. In this review we summarize the available serologic tests for SD, and speculate on the use of recombinant BmpB as an antigen for future development of an improved serologic test for SD diagnosis.

Corresponding author
* Division of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Murdoch University, Murdoch, Western Australia 6150, Australia. E-mail:
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Animal Health Research Reviews
  • ISSN: 1466-2523
  • EISSN: 1475-2654
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