Mucin changes associated with abomasal parasitism in sheep : a thesis presented partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at Massey University

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Massey University
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Mucins play important roles in host-pathogen interactions, influencing host resistance, establishment of infection, as pathogen recognition sites and a source of nutrients. They are highly glycosylated molecules and changes in monosaccharide composition during parasitism have been reported. Effects of parasites on monosaccharide component of fundic and duodenal mucins of sheep were investigated in 3 age ranges (i) 4-4.5, (ii) 6 and (iii) 8-9 months old: (1) noninfected; (2) infected with 10,000 Haemonchus contortus and euthanased 21 days post infection (p.i.); (3) infected with 50,000 Teladorsagia circumcincta and euthanased 28 days p.i. Three days-old lambs and 9 weeks-old lambs: (a) milk-fed, (b) solid-fed and (c) solid-fed, infected with T. circumcincta were also included. The effects of H. contortus and T. circumcincta infection in mucin changes were significantly different in the fundus, however, both of them shared some similarities. Infected sheep showed lower proportion of fucose and sialic acids in fundic and duodenal mucins compared with non-infected animals, the level of sulphation varied depending on the age of infected sheep: decrease in young sheep but increase in older animals. H. contortus infection also caused increased proportions of GlcNAc and Gal in fundic mucins and duodenal mucins respectively at all ages, however, in T. circumcincta infection, it was shown that the alterations of mucins were age-dependent. T. circumcincta infected sheep showed the significant changes at young ages (4-6 months-old) while 8-9 months-old animals showed less change in fundic mucins compared with non-infected animals. Effects of H. contortus and T. circumcincta infection differed in the fundic mucins but were similar in the duodenum. The study showed that parasitism caused the modifications of monosaccharide composition in gastrointestinal mucins of sheep. These alterations may result from parasite species differences, causing different effects from the host’s immune response. The changes in mucin profiles observed in the duodenum of sheep infected with abomasal nematodes suggested that the host may respond to parasitism. This would facilitate the use of mucins from accessible sources, without euthanasing the animals, to investigate the changes in mucin compositions which can be used to diagnose the susceptibility or resistance of sheep to parasites
Sheep, Parasites