Gastric or cutaneous habronemosis caused by Habronema microstoma Creplin, 1849 and Habronema muscae Carter, 1865 is a parasitic disease of equids transmitted by muscid flies. There is a paucity of information on the epidemiology of this disease, which is mainly due to limitations with diagnosis in the live animal and with the identification of the parasites in the intermediate hosts. To overcome such limitations, a molecular approach, based on the use of genetic markers in the second internal transcribed spacer (ITS-2) of ribosomal DNA, was established for the two species of Habronema. Characterisation of the ITS-2 revealed sequence lengths and G+C contents of 296 bp and 29.5% for H. microstoma, and of 334 bp and 35.9% for H. muscae, respectively. Exploiting the sequence difference (approximately 40%) between the two species of nematode, primers were designed and tested by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for their specificity using a panel of control DNA samples from common equid endoparasites, and from host tissues, faeces or muscid flies. Effective amplification from each of the two species of Habronema was achieved from as little as 10 pg of genomic DNA. Hence, this molecular approach allows the specific identification and differentiation of the DNA from H. microstoma and H. muscae, and could thus provide a molecular tool for the specific detection of Habronema DNA (irrespective of developmental stage) from faeces, skin and muscid fly samples. The establishment of this tool has important implications for the specific diagnosis of clinical cases of gastric and cutaneous habronemosis in equids, and for studying the ecology and epidemiology of the two species of Habronema.
Specific identification of Habronema microstoma and Habronema muscae (Spirurida, Habronematidae) by PCR using markers in ribosomal DNA / TRAVERSA D; GIANGASPERO A; GALLI P; PAOLETTI B; OTRANTO D; GASSER R.B. - In: MOLECULAR AND CELLULAR PROBES. - ISSN 0890-8508. - 18(2004), pp. 215-221.