Aspergillosis remains a difficult disease to diagnose antemortem in many species, especially avian species. In the present study, banked plasma samples from various avian species were examined for gliotoxin (GT), which is a recognized key virulence factor produced during the replication of Aspergillus species hyphae and a secondary metabolite bis(methyl)gliotoxin (bmGT). Initially, liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry methods for detecting GT and bmGT were validated in a controlled model using sera obtained from rats experimentally infected with Aspergillus fumigatus. The minimum detection level for both measurements was determined to be 3 ng/ml, and the assay was found to be accurate and reliable. As proof of concept, GT was detected in 85.7% (30/35) of the samples obtained from birds with confirmed aspergillosis and in 60.7% (17/28) of samples from birds with probable infection but only in one of those from clinically normal birds (1/119). None of the birds were positive for bmGT. Repeated measures from birds under treatment suggests results may have prognostic value. Further studies are needed to implement quantitative methods and to determine the utility of this test in surveillance screening in addition to its use as a diagnostic test in birds with suspected aspergillosis.
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11 March 2022
DETECTION OF GLIOTOXIN BUT NOT BIS(METHYL)GLIOTOXIN IN PLASMA FROM BIRDS WITH CONFIRMED AND PROBABLE ASPERGILLOSIS