Genomic variability of Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae within pig lung lobes

Matteo Tonni, M. Beatrice Boniotti, Sara Gasparrini, Flavia Guarneri, Nicoletta Formenti, Maria Pieters, Paolo Pasquali, Giovanni L. Alborali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Genotypic variability in M. hyopneumoniae has been reported within and among herds. However, information regarding VNTR types within single lung lobes is lacking. The objective of his study was to analyse M. hyopneumoniae infections and their association with VNTR types and lung lesions at the lobe level. Lungs from 300 pigs from 10 farms experiencing an enzootic pneumonia outbreak were collected and scored. M. hyopneumoniae was detected by real-time PCR and genotyped by MLVA assay in all samples.

RESULTS: The results showed genotypic variability within single pigs and among lung lobes. At the lobe level, infection with one VNTR type (SN infection) was dominant. Lobes with lesion scores > 0 were associated with positive results for real-time PCR. At the lobe level, no relationship was observed between infections with more than one genotype (MX infections) and the proportion of Mycoplasma-like lesions. Lesion-free lobes presented a higher proportion of MX infections than lobes scored > 0. M. hyopneumoniae was detected more frequently in the right lobe of the lung (p < 0.05), with a similar distribution within lobes for SN and MX infections. The anatomic conformation of swine lungs led to a higher prevalence of infections in the right lobe. However, this study showed that this condition did not affect the distribution of infections with multiple VNTR types. Nevertheless, careful consideration of sample selection should be practised for M. hyopneumoniae genotype analyses, including lung lobes with no visible lesions.

CONCLUSION: The results did not show a significant association between the number of detected genotypes and the severity of the lesions at the lung lobe level, but revealed the unexpected detection of M. hyopneumoniae genotypes in lesion-free lobes. These results imply that a representative sampling of all lobes may lead to an accurate identification of the VNTR-type distribution. Further studies including factors that can affect pathogenetic evolution of this bacterium could shed light on the complexity of the relationship between genotypes and the lung lesions magnitude.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number14
JournalPorcine Health Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 28 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The study was funded by the IZSLER.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


  • Lobe
  • Lung
  • MLVA
  • Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae
  • Swine
  • VNTR type
  • Variability


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