Hepatozoon martis n. sp. (Adeleorina: Hepatozoidae): Morphological and pathological features of a Hepatozoon species infecting martens (family Mustelidae)

Adnan Hodžić, Amer Alić, Relja Beck, Ana Beck, Doroteja Huber, Domenico Otranto, Gad Baneth, Georg G. Duscher*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Species of the genus Hepatozoon (Adeleorina: Hepatozoidae) are arthropod-transmitted protozoan parasites that infect a wide range of vertebrate hosts. In the present study, we describe a new species of Hepatozoon primarily infecting martens and propose the name Hepatozoon martis n. sp., based on its unique morphological, molecular and pathogenic features. The overall prevalence of infection with H. martis n. sp. assessed by PCR in European pine martens (Martes martes) from Bosnia and Herzegovina and stone martens (Martes foina) from Croatia was 100% and 64%, respectively. Gamonts were found in neutrophils and monocytes, and various developmental stages were described in tissue cross-sections. Hepatozoon martis n. sp. shows a high predilection for muscle tissue, and the heart was the most frequently affected organ among the tissues tested by histopathology. Microscopically, pyogranulomatous lesions associated with the presence of the parasitic forms were observed in the cardiac and skeletal muscles of all positive animals examined. Furthermore, the possible existence of alternative, non-vectorial routes of transmission is discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)912-920
Number of pages9
JournalTicks and Tick-borne Diseases
Volume9
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier GmbH

Keywords

  • 18S rDNA
  • Hepatozoon martis n. sp.
  • Martens
  • Molecular characterization
  • Morphology

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