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Avian malaria and penguins in Brazil: epidemiological and pathological investigations of a disease with potential risks to avian conservation

Grant number: 15/05160-1
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2015
Effective date (End): May 31, 2016
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Immunology - Applied Immunology
Principal Investigator:Jose Luiz Catao Dias
Grantee:Ana Priscila Perini de Araújo
Host Institution: Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia (FMVZ). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:10/51801-5 - Avian malaria and penguins in Brazil: epidemiological and pathological investigations of a disease with potential risks to avian conservation, AP.TEM


The Magalhaes penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus), a resident of Argentina, Chile and the Falkland Islands, visits the Brazilian continental shelf during its winter migration. A significant fraction of these animals reaches our beaches with poor health, receiving care in rehabilitation centers (CR) distributed along the Brazilian coast. One of the major infectious diseases affecting these animals is avian malaria, responsible for part of the high mortality rate. Therefore, making use of biomolecular, serological, pathological and hematological methods, the project aims to contribute to the understanding of the pathological process and epidemiological patterns of malaria infection in Magalhaes penguins CRs and kept in captivity and in this context to infer on the potential impact of this disease for the conservation of these seabirds.The enzyme immunoassay systems (ELISA) are considered very useful for the diagnosis of various infections due to its high sensitivity, simplicity and speed of execution (Guthmann et al., 2002). In the case of avian malaria, ELISA assays which allow the detection of antigen-specific antibodies of different classes can represent a good indicator of the stage of infection of the animals, the acute phase with high titers of IgM, and IgG production at the recovery of the disease. Therefore, we will use polyclonal antibodies produced in mice in response to immunization with the Fc fragments of IgM and IgG penguin. This assay will suggest the recent (high titers of IgM) or past (high titers of IgG) exposure of the bird to the plasmodium with the detection of specific humoral immune response. Another alternative ELISA for the determination of avian malaria is based on the use of specific monoclonal antibodies against the Fc fragments of IgG and IgM penguin. The first technique to obtain homogeneous antibodies or monoclonal defined specificity has been described by Georges Kohler and Cesar Milstein in 1975. The obtaining of monoclonal antibodies is based on the fusion of a specific antibody-producing B lymphocyte with myeloma cells, a type B lymphocyte tumor, not secreting antibody and immortal. The hybrid cells or hybridomas may be maintained indefinitely in vitro and have the ability to secrete antibodies with a defined specificity (monoclonal) in large quantities regardless of the use of animals. (AU)

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