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The moderate drift towards less tetracycline-susceptible isolates of contagious agalactia causative agents might result from different molecular mechanisms

Prats-van der Ham, M., Tatay-Dualde, J., Ambroset, C., De la Fe, C., Tardy, F.
Veterinary microbiology 2018 v.220 pp. 39-46
Mycoplasma, agalactia, alleles, dairy herds, dairy industry, etiological agents, loci, mastitis, milk production, minimum inhibitory concentration, morbidity, mutation, mycoplasmosis, resistance mechanisms, small ruminants, statistical analysis, tetracycline, France, Spain
Contagious agalactia is a mycoplasmosis that affects small ruminants, is associated with loss of milk production and high morbidity rates, and is highly deleterious to dairy industries. The etiological agents are four mycoplasma (sub)species, of which the relative importance depends on the countries and the animal host. Tetracyclines are non-expensive, broad-spectrum antimicrobials and are often used to control mastitis in dairy herds. However, the in vitro efficiency of tetracyclines against each of the etiological agents of contagious agalactia has been poorly assessed.The aims of this study were i) to compare the tetracycline susceptibilities of various field isolates, belonging to different mycoplasma (sub)species and subtypes, collected over the years from different clinical contexts in France or Spain, and ii) to investigate the molecular mechanisms behind the decreased susceptibility of some isolates to tetracyclines.The Minimum Inhibitory Concentrations (MICs) of tetracyclines were determined in vitro on a set of 120 isolates. Statistical analyses were run to define the significance of any observed differences in MICs distribution. As mutations in the genes encoding the tetracycline targets (rrs loci) are most often associated with increased tetracycline MICs in animal mycoplasmas, these genes were sequenced.The loss of susceptibility to tetracyclines after year 2010 is not significant and recent MICs are higher in M. agalactiae, especially isolates from mastitis cases, than in other etiological agents of contagious agalactia. The observed increases in MICs were not always associated with mutations in the rrs alleles which suggests the existence of other resistance mechanisms yet to be deciphered.