+49 30 838 51840 / 51843
To validate the epidemiology of Treponema spp. associated with digital dermatitis (DD) a large number of DD samples (n=56) were examined by DNA-DNA dot blot analyses using oligonucleotide probes specific for phylogenetic group I-VII of oral treponemes and DD-associated phylotypes DDKL-4, DDKL-12 and DDKL-20 as well as for T. brennaborense and T. socranskii. Positive hybridisation results were obtained for phylogenetic groups I, II and IV and phylotypes DDKL-4 and DDKL-12. While phylotype DDKL-4 was detected in 100% of the samples treponemes belonging to phylogenetic group TRE I, TRE II and TRE IV were prevalent in nearly 80% of the samples and phylotype DDKL-12 was detected in 66.1% of the samples. Analysis of Treponema groups present concurrently in the same sample revealed that a combination of TRE I-TRE II-TRE IV-DDKL-4 was most prevalent and could be detected in up to 71% of the samples. These data indicate that this combination of different Treponema spp. seems to be the most important one in the pathogenesis of DD. In contrast, T. brennaborense originally isolated from DD material this treponeme was not detected in any of the samples clearly indicating that this species is not absolutely associated with DD and therefore may represent only an incidental treponeme. Fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH) obviously highlights the invasive character of DD-associated treponemes. Mainly treponemes belonging to phylogenetic group TRE I and phylotype DDKL-4 were detected in high numbers compared to the total number of bacteria and also in deeper layers of the epithelium at the transition of unaffected and affected tissue. Our results confirm a high prevalence and diversity of Treponema spp. in DD lesions. In addition, our data indicate that certain combinations of Treponema spp. are detected much more frequently than others. Furthermore, Treponema spp. appears at the interface between healthy and diseased tissue underlining their importance for the pathogenesis of DD.