Non-purulent meningoencephalomyelitis of a Pacific striped dolphin (Lagenorhynchus obliquidens). The first evidence of morbillivirus infection in a dolphin at the Pacific Ocean around Japan.
On March 22, 1998, a mature, male, hyposthenic Pacific striped dolphin (Lagenorhynchus obliquidens) was stranded at Aoshima Beach in Miyazaki prefecture, Japan. A necropsy performed 14 hr after death revealed mild diffuse congestion and edema of the leptomeninges and mild pulmonary atelectasis. Histopathologically, non-purulent inflammatory were observed throughout the cerebrum, thalamus, midbrain, pons, medulla oblongata, and spinal cord. Hematoxylin and eosin stain revealed no viral inclusion bodies. Immunohistochemistry using a monoclonal antibody against nucleoprotein of canine distemper virus (CDV-NP) revealed a number of CDV-NP-positive granular deposits in the cytoplasm and cell processes of the degenerating or intact neurons. The present paper is a first report of spontaneously occurred morbillivirus infection in a dolphin at the Pacific Ocean around Japan. (+info
Dermatitis with invasive ciliated protozoa in dolphins that died during the 1987-1988 Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin morbilliviral epizootic.
Dermatitis with intradermal cilated protozoa was identified in 18 of 95 (19%) Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) that died during the 1987-1988 Atlantic-dolphin morbillivirus epizootic. The lesions were characterized by focally extensive suppurative and histiocytic dermatitis and cellulitis with ulceration and variable numbers of dermal and hypodermal ciliates. Vasculitis, thrombosis, and/or intravascular ciliates were rarely present. In one dolphin, there was an associated lymphadenitis with ciliates, and in another, bronchopneumonia with rare intrabronchiolar ciliates. Ten of the dolphins were female, and eight were male. The animals ranged in length from 148 to 260 cm. Eleven were from Virginia, four were from New Jersey, and three were from Florida. In 13 dolphins, results of immunohistochemical and/or polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests were positive for morbillivirus infection. Results of immunohistochemical tests were negative in four dolphins that were not also tested with PCR. Results were also negative in one dolphin tested using both methods. Nine dolphins had concomitant bacterial, fungal, and/or other protozoal infections. Fourteen other dolphins with ciliate-associated dermatitis were identified from 414 Atlantic bottlenose dolphin cases (3%) archived at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology. The incidence of dermatitis with invasive ciliates is much greater in dolphins that died during the 1987-1988 epizootic. (+info
Genomic fingerprinting and development of a dendrogram for Brucella spp. isolated from seals, porpoises, and dolphins.
Genomic DNA from reference strains and biovars of the genus Brucella was analyzed using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Fingerprints were compared to estimate genetic relatedness among the strains and to obtain information on evolutionary relationships. Electrophoresis of DNA digested with the restriction endonuclease XbaI produced fragment profiles for the reference type strains that distinguished these strains to the level of species. Included in this study were strains isolated from marine mammals. The PFGE profiles from these strains were compared with those obtained from the reference strains and biovars. Isolates from dolphins had similar profiles that were distinct from profiles of Brucella isolates from seals and porpoises. Distance matrix analyses were used to produce a dendrogram. Biovars of B. abortus were clustered together in the dendrogram; similar clusters were shown for biovars of B. melitensis and for biovars of B. suis. Brucella ovis, B. canis, and B. neotomae differed from each other and from B. abortus, B. melitensis, and B. suis. The relationship between B. abortus strain RB51 and other Brucella biovars was compared because this strain has replaced B. abortus strain 19 for use as a live vaccine in cattle and possibly in bison and elk. These results support the current taxonomy of Brucella species and the designation of an additional genomic group(s) of Brucella. The PFGE analysis in conjunction with distance matrix analysis was a useful tool for calculating genetic relatedness among the Brucella species. (+info
How dolphins use their blubber to avoid heat stress during encounters with warm water.
Dolphins have been observed swimming in inshore tropical waters as warm as 36-38 degrees C. A simple protocol that mimicked the thermal conditions encountered by a dolphin moving from cool pelagic to warm inshore water was used to determine how dolphins avoid hyperthermia in water temperatures (Tw) at and above their normal core temperature (Tc). Tw (2 sites), rectal temperature (Tre; 3 depths), and skin temperature (Tsk; 7 sites) and rate of heat flow (4-5 sites) between the skin and the environment were measured while the dolphin rested in a chamber during a 30-min baseline and 40-60 min while water was warmed at approximately 0.43 degrees C/min until temperatures of 34-36 degrees C were attained. Instead of the expected increase, Tre consistently showed declines during the warming ramp, sometimes by amounts that were remarkable both in their magnitude (1.35 degrees C) and rapidity (8-15 min). The reduction in Tre occurred even while heat loss to the environment was prevented by continued controlled warming of the water that kept Tw slightly above Tsk and while metabolic heat production alone should have added 1.6-2 degrees C/h to the Tc. This reduction in Tc could only be due to a massive redistribution of heat from the core to the blubber layer. (+info
Epidermal diseases in bottlenose dolphins: impacts of natural and anthropogenic factors.
Experimental studies have highlighted the potential influence of contaminants on marine mammal immune function and anthropogenic contaminants are commonly believed to influence the development of diseases observed in the wild. However, estimates of the impact of contaminants on wild populations are constrained by uncertainty over natural variation in disease patterns under different environmental conditions. We used photographic techniques to compare levels of epidermal disease in ten coastal populations of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) exposed to a wide range of natural and anthropogenic conditions. Epidermal lesions were common in all populations (affecting > 60% of individuals), but both the prevalence and severity of 15 lesion categories varied between populations. No relationships were found between epidermal disease and contaminant levels across the four populations for which toxicological data were available. In contrast, there were highly significant linear relationships with oceanographic variables. In particular, populations from areas of low water temperature and low salinity exhibited higher lesion prevalence and severity. Such conditions may impact on epidermal integrity or produce more general physiological stress, potentially making animals more vulnerable to natural infections or anthropogenic factors. These results show that variations in natural environmental factors must be accounted for when investigating the importance of anthropogenic impacts on disease in wild marine mammals. (+info
Cloning and sequencing of a bottle-nosed dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) interleukin-4-encoding cDNA.
Using polymerase chain reaction (PCR), a bottle-nosed dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) interleukin-4 (IL4) cDNA was cloned and sequenced. IL4 specific primers were based on the 5' and 3' untranslated regions of the human and murine IL4 gene. The dolphin IL4 cDNA is 528 base pairs in length and contains an open reading frame of 402 nucleotides coding an IL4 precursor of 133 amino acids, with the putative signal peptide of 24 amino acids. Analysis of the mature amino acid sequence shows three potential N-linked glycosylation sites and three disulfide bonds. Comparison of the predicted amino acid sequence shows that dolphin IL4 shares 77, 74, 58 and 41% identity with the bovine, ovine, human and mouse IL4s, respectively. (+info
Morphology of the lymphoid organs of the bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus.
The anatomy of the lymphoid organs was studied during the course of detailed dissections of 50 beach-stranded bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops truncatus. Constant lymph nodes occur in 4 groups, based on their location and structure. These groups are somatic, including nodes of the cervical region and pelvic recess; lung-associated, included marginal, diaphragmatic and hilar nodes; visceral, including the mesenteric, pancreatic, pericolic and porta hepatis nodes; and aortic arch nodes. Lymphatic drainage of the lung is primarily to the marginal and diaphragmatic nodes. The mesenteric node mass is well-endowed with capsular and trabecular smooth muscle, and a network of muscle fascicles within the organ implies an important contractile function in the circulation of lymph. In addition to constant nodes, occasionally nodes are found in relation to the thoracic aorta, the kidney, and under the scapula. Gut-associated structures include dorsal and ventral oropharyngeal tonsils, mucosal aggregates in the straight segment of the intestine (colon) and anal tonsils; this gut-associated lymphoid tissue tends to involute with age, being greatly reduced by puberty. Formed lymphoid organs include the thymus and the spleen, the latter being relatively small in relation to body size. None of these structures is unique among cetaceans, but the anal tonsils are particularly well developed in T. truncatus. The lymphoid aggregates in the colon resemble the arrangement in the vermiform appendix, which is lacking in most cetaceans, and may have functions analogous to that organ. (+info
What determines the bending strength of compact bone?
The bending strength of a wide variety of bony types is shown to be nearly linearly proportional to Young's modulus of elasticity/100. A somewhat closer and more satisfactory fit is obtained if account is taken of the variation of yield strain with Young's modulus. This finding strongly suggests that bending strength is determined by the yield strain. The yield stress in tension, which might be expected to predict the bending strength, underestimates the true bending strength by approximately 40 %. This may be explained by two phenomena. (1) The post-yield deformation of the bone material allows a greater bending moment to be exerted after the yield point has been reached, thereby increasing the strength as calculated from beam formulae. (2) Loading in bending results in a much smaller proportion of the volume of the specimens being raised to high stresses than is the case in tension, and this reduces the likelihood of a weak part of the specimen being loaded to failure. (+info