Haplotypes of Dirofilaria repens from Poland and selected countries of Central, North-Eastern Europe and the Middle East: An evaluation on the relation between the genetic diversity and the geographic distribution of the fast-spreading parasite

Mustafa Alsarraf*, Gad Baneth, Anna Bogucka-Kocka, Lavinia Ciuca, Dorota Dwużnik-Szarek, Hans Peter Fuehrer, Agnieszka Kloch, Przemysław Kołodziej, Viktoria Levytska, Ewa Julia Mierzejewska, Andrei D. Mihalca, Angela Monica Ionică, Andrii Mushynskyi, Yaarit Nachum-Biala, Mohammed Alsarraf, Anna Bajer

*Corresponding author for this work

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7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Subcutaneous dirofilariosis is a fast-spreading infection of dogs, and occasionally of other carnivores and humans. Several factors contribute to its spread, including climate change, which facilitates development and survival of Dirofilaria repens in the mosquito vector. Movement/relocation of infected definitive hosts (dogs) from endemic regions to non-endemic regions is another possible cause of local emergence and the presence of a wide variety of wild reservoirs of the parasite may also contribute to its spread. The main aim of this study was to evaluate the genetic diversity of D. repens from different regions of Europe and to evaluate the spread of identified haplotypes and their geographic origin. A total of 95 D. repens isolates were obtained from Central and Eastern Europe (Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Austria, Romania), NE Europe (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia), Italy and Israel. All but two positive samples were obtained from the blood of dogs while one positive sample was obtained from an adult worm from a human case from the Lublin area in SE Poland and one sample was obtained from Anopheles plumbeus mosquito from Austria. Genetic diversity in D. repens isolates was evaluated by PCR amplification and sequencing of three genetic markers, including two mitochondrial genes (mtDNA): the cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) and dehydrogenase subunit I (NADH). Additionally, the genomic marker, internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS-1) was amplified and sequenced. Haplotypes were differentiated based on sequence alignments by identifying Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNPs) using DnaSP and Mega X. PopArt was used to construct a haplotype network including all identified haplotypes. Both mtDNA sequences (COI and NADH) were combined together for phylogenetic and network analyses. Altogether 18 haplotypes (DR1-DR18) were identified in combined mtDNA markers among 95 analysed samples. Haplotype DR1 was the most common encompassing 66 isolates: 42 isolates from Poland (41 from dogs and one from a human), 13 from Lithuania, 4 from Latvia, 2 from Ukraine and 5 from Romania. All other haplotypes grouped around haplotype DR1 separated by 1–5 SNPs, forming a star-like shape. Haplotype DR2 was the second most common haplotype, formed by six isolates from Romania. Interestingly, haplotype DR3 was represented only by four isolates from Israel. The remaining 15 haplotypes were represented by 1–4 isolates of different origins. Our study showed that only minor genetic diversity was found in D. repens since all isolates appear to have clustered in or branched out from haplotype DR1 with 1–5 SNP differences. The genetic diversity appears to be governed by geographic origin since isolates from neighbouring populations (countries) appear to share unique haplotypes while other populations that are geographically distant from individual haplotypes.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number109882
JournalVeterinary Parasitology
Volume315
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier B.V.

Keywords

  • COI
  • Dirofilaria repens
  • Haplotype
  • ITS-1
  • NADH

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