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Experimental challenge of pregnant cattle with the putative abortifacient Waddlia chondrophila

Wheelhouse, Nicholas; Flockhart, Allen; Aitchison, Kevin; Livingstone, Morag; Finlayson, Jeanie; Flachon, Virginie; Sellal, Eric; Dagleish, Mark P.; Longbottom, David


Kevin Aitchison

Morag Livingstone

Jeanie Finlayson

Virginie Flachon

Eric Sellal

Mark P. Dagleish

David Longbottom


Waddlia chondrophila is a Gram-negative intracellular bacterial organism that is related to classical chlamydial species and has been implicated as a cause of abortion in cattle. Despite an increasing number of observational studies linking W. chondrophila infection to cattle abortion, little direct experimental evidence exists. Given this paucity of direct evidence the current study was carried out to investigate whether experimental challenge of pregnant cattle with W. chondrophila would result in infection and abortion. Nine pregnant Friesian-Holstein heifers received 2 × 108 inclusion forming units (IFU) W. chondrophila intravenously on day 105–110 of pregnancy, while four negative-control animals underwent mock challenge. Only one of the challenged animals showed pathogen-associated lesions, with the organism being detected in the diseased placenta. Importantly, the organism was re-isolated and its identity confirmed by whole genome sequencing, confirming Koch’s third and fourth postulates. However, while infection of the placenta was observed, the experimental challenge in this study did not confirm the abortifacient potential of the organism.


Wheelhouse, N., Flockhart, A., Aitchison, K., Livingstone, M., Finlayson, J., Flachon, V., …Longbottom, D. (2016). Experimental challenge of pregnant cattle with the putative abortifacient Waddlia chondrophila. Scientific Reports, 6, 37150.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 25, 2016
Online Publication Date Nov 14, 2016
Publication Date Nov 14, 2016
Deposit Date Nov 14, 2016
Publicly Available Date Nov 15, 2016
Journal Scientific Reports
Electronic ISSN 2045-2322
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 6
Pages 37150
Keywords Infectious-disease diagnostics, pathogens,
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Experimental challenge of pregnant cattle with the putative abortifacient Waddlia chondrophila (977 Kb)

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© The Author(s) 2016

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