Antimicrobial resistance and presence of virulence factor genes in Arcanobacterium pyogenes isolated from the uterus of postpartum dairy cows

T. M.A. Santos, L. S. Caixeta, V. S. Machado, A. K. Rauf, R. O. Gilbert, R. C. Bicalho

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102 Scopus citations


Arcanobacterium pyogenes is considered the most significant bacterium involved in the pathogenesis of metritis in cattle. Infections caused by antimicrobial-resistant bacteria are a great challenge in both human and veterinary medicine. The purpose of this study was to present an overview of antimicrobial resistance in A. pyogenes isolated from the uteruses of postpartum Holstein dairy cows and to identify virulence factors. Seventy-two A. pyogenes isolates were phenotypically characterized for antimicrobial resistance to amoxicillin, ampicillin, ceftiofur, chloramphenicol, florfenicol, oxytetracycline, penicillin, spectinomycin, streptomycin and tetracycline by the broth microdilution method. Presence of virulence factor genes of A. pyogenes was investigated. Isolates exhibited resistance to all antimicrobial agents tested; high levels of resistance were found to amoxicillin (56.9%); ampicillin (86.1%), chloramphenicol (100%), florfenicol (59.7%), oxytetracycline (54.2%), penicillin (86.1%) and tetracycline (50%). Of all isolates, 69 (95.8%) were resistant to at least 2 of the antimicrobial agents tested and multidrug resistance (resistant to at least 3 antimicrobials) was observed in 64 (88.9%) of the A. pyogenes isolates. The major multidrug resistance profile was found for chloramphenicol-ampicillin-penicillin-florfenicol-amoxicillin-tetracycline, which was observed in 21 (29.2%) multidrug resistant isolates. No isolate was resistant to all nine antimicrobial agents tested but four isolates (5.6%) were resistant to eight antimicrobials. The information highlights the need for prudent use of specific antimicrobial agents. All four virulence factor genes occurred in isolates from normal puerperium and clinical metritis; however, the fimA gene was present in significantly higher frequency in isolates from metritis cows.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)84-89
Number of pages6
JournalVeterinary Microbiology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Sep 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Arcanobacterium pyogenes
  • Dairy cow
  • Metritis
  • Virulence factor


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