Identification of Brachyspira spp. in the cecum of broiler chickens using histology and in situ diagnostic assays

Monica Regina de Matos, Aline Patrícia Grzegozevski, Alessandra da Cruz, Arthur Colombari Cheng, Amanda Gerelli, Carla Fusco, Leonardo Gruchouskei, Aline de Marco Viott


The genus Brachyspira corresponds to the group of bacteria formerly classified into the genus Serpulina and includes several commensal and pathogenic intestinal spirochetes that affect pigs, poultry, and other animal species, including humans. In birds, some pathogenic species of this genus causes a condition known as avian intestinal spirochetosis, which remains underdiagnosed, thereby causing serious economic losses. Brachyspira is a fastidious organism that necessitates the employment of fast and efficient identification techniques. The aim of this study was to identify Brachyspira spp. using histology, immunohistochemistry (IHC) and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) in formalin-fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) tissue samples from the cecum of commercial poultry. Samples were collected from 129 birds aged between 35 and 45 days from commercial broiler farms. For evaluation, routine histology processing (H&E) and the histochemical technique, periodic acid–Schiff (PAS) were done. Additionally, FFPE tissue samples were evaluated for FISH and IHC. The histological lesions were analyzed and graded after H&E staining, and the goblet cells were counted and compared using PAS staining with the positive and negative samples obtained through FISH and IHC. For FISH, probes labeled with Brachyspira spp., B. pilosicoli, B. hyodysenteriae, and B. intermedia were used, whereas rabbit polyclonal antibody specific for Brachyspira spp. was used for IHC. Of 129 samples, 82 were positive with IHC and 86 were positive with FISH. The samples positive for the genus Brachyspira in the FISH technique were tested for B. pilosicoli, B. hyodysenteriae, and B. intermedia in which 56 were positive for B. pilosicoli, 75 for B. hyodysenteriae and 80 for B. intermedia. There was an increase in goblet cells in the samples positive for FISH and IHC. The techniques used were effective and gave corresponding results, thus serving as a fast and efficient tool for diagnosis.


Avian intestinal spirochetosis; Enteritis; Diagnosis; Histology; Immunohistochemistry; Fluorescence in situ hybridization; Brachyspira spp.

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Semina: Ciênc. Agrár.
Londrina - PR
E-ISSN 1679-0359
DOI: 10.5433 / 1679-0359
Este obra está licenciado com uma Licença  Creative Commons Atribuição-NãoComercial 4.0 Internacional