doi: 10.15389/agrobiology.2023.4.757eng

UDC: 591.2:616-093/-098:591.111(470.342)

The authors are grateful to the hunting team of the Zhitkov Russian Game Management and Fur Farming Research Institute and to A.M. Perevozchikov, game manager of the Kotelnich district organization of the public organization Kirov Regional Society of Hunters and Fishermen for assistance in collecting biomaterial.
Supported financially by the Federal Research Programs of the State Academies of Sciences FSZZ-2019-0001 (AAAA19-119020190132-5)



M.A. Perevozchikova ✉, I.A. Domsky, Yu.A. Berezina, A.A. Sergeev

Zhitkov Russian Game Management and Fur Farming Research Institute, 79, ul. Preobrazhenskaia, Kirov, 610000, Russia, e-mail ( corresponding author),,,

Perevozchikova M.A.
Berezina Yu.A.
Domsky I.A.
Sergeev A.A.

Final revision received September 14, 2022
Accepted November 2, 2022

Currently, there is a wide distribution of natural foci of ixodid tick-borne borreliosis (ITB, Lyme disease) in Europe, Asia, Australia and America, as well as high infection rate of people and animals. Studies have shown that this new natural focal infection occupies a leading position in terms of morbidity and socio-economic damage. Many pathogenic microorganisms, including Borrelia burgdorferi, which cause disease in humans and animals, persist in certain natural foci. Ticks feed on different animals at different stages of development. The size of the tick population mainly depends on the number of adult reservoir hosts. The research, for the first time, revealed in ITB infection reservoir hosts with diagnostically significant titers of antibodies to В. burgdorferi the blood serum biochemical parameters which indicate the pathological effect of the pathogen on the body of wild animals, the development of multiple organ failure and harm to their health. The aim was to study the natural foci of ixodid tick-borne borreliosis and to obtain new data on the epizootology of the disease, including an assessment of the effect of parasitism of ixodid ticks infected with B. burgdorferi on the blood chemical composition of reservoir hosts, the mountain hare and moose. Blood serum from adult males of mountain hare (n = 11) was used, including 5 samples that had diagnostically significant titers of antibodies to B. burgdorferi in the indirect immunofluorescence reaction (IRIF) (1:40 and 1:80), and 6 samples that did not have diagnostically significant titers of antibodies to B. burgdorferi (control). We also studied blood serum from moose (n = 114) of different sex and age groups (animals aged 6-7 months and adults), including 24 samples with diagnostically significant titers of antibodies to B. burgdorferi and 90 samples from clinically healthy animals (Kirov region), including individuals whose sera in the NRIF did not have diagnostically significant titers of antibodies to B. burgdorferi. Animals were hunted during scientific shooting during the autumn hunting seasons of 2005-2020. Blood samples for laboratory studies were taken from the jugular vein immediately after the animal was shot. Anti-borreliosis antibodies in blood serum was detected in NRIF test using B. afzelii corpuscular antigen (strain Ip-21) and fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC) labeled luminescent immune serum against globulins of various animal species (rabbit, dog, bull, pig, chicken). Biochemical studies of blood serum were performed using a semi-automatic analyzer Biochem SA (High Technology Inc., USA) with a set of reagents (Eco-Service, Russia) to measure the concentration of aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), alkaline phosphatase, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), alpha-amylase, total protein, albumin, total bilirubin, direct bilirubin, creatinine and cholesterol. It was found that the animals with diagnostically significant titers of antibodies to B. burgdorferi had statistically significant (p < 0.05) differences in the activity of AST, ALT, alkaline phosphatase, the content of total protein, total and direct bilirubin, creatinine. Thus, in a hare with diagnostically significant titers of antibodies to B. burgdorferi, AST activity was 342.2 % higher compared to animals without titers. An increase in AST activity in moose was noted, by 35.0 % in young females, by 35.3 % in young males, by 31.2 % in adult females, and by 24.0 % in adult males. ALT activity in hare with diagnostic titers to B. burgdorferi was 32.8 % higher compared to the control. An increase in ALT activity was also found in moose, by 53.8% in young females, by 90.4 % in young males, by 188.6 % in adult females, and by 173.9 % in adult males. In hare, the value of the de Ritis coefficient testified to the predominance of the heart pathology, and in moose, on the contrary, to liver damage. An increase (p < 0.05) in the activity of alkaline phosphatase during borreliosis in adult moose was noted, by 132.5 % in females and by 206.3 % in males, and a decrease in the enzyme activity in young females. In hare, an increase in the content of total bilirubin by 42.4 % was revealed, in young female moose by 86.1 %, in young males by 121.9 %, in adult females by 118.8 %, in adult males by 70.4 %. In addition, the content of direct bilirubin increased in male moose, by 59.1 % in young and by 102.8 % in adults. The amount of total protein in all groups of animals with diagnostically significant antibody titers to B. burgdorferi increased: in hare by 123.6 %, in young female moose by 24.3 %, in young males by 53.5 %, in adult females by 76.7 %, in adult males by 19.9%. In hares with diagnostic titers of antibodies to B. burgdorferi, the renal failure led to a 40.7 % increase for creatinine, the end product of metabolism. Univariate analysis (ANOVA) allowed us to establish a significant effect of B. burgdorferi on the increase in serum concentrations of aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatase, total protein, total and direct bilirubin, and creatinine. The data obtained indicate multiple organ failure in reservoir hosts under borreliosis and pathological effects of B. burgdorferi on animals.

Keywords: Borrelia burgdorferi, ixodid ticks, reservoir hosts, Alces alces, Lepus timidus, blood biochemistry, blood serum.



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