Reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (ROS-RNS) are important defence substances involved in the immune response against pathogens. An excessive increase in ROS-RNS, however, can damage the organism causing oxidative stress (OS). The organism is able to neutralise OS by the production of antioxidant enzymes (AE); hence, tissue damage is the result of an imbalance between oxidant and antioxidant status. Though some work has been carried out in humans, there is a lack of information about the oxidant/antioxidant status in the presence of tuberculosis (TB) in wild reservoirs. In the Mediterranean Basin, wild boar (Sus scrofa) is the main reservoir of TB. Wild boar showing severe TB have an increased risk to Mycobacterium spp. shedding, leading to pathogen spreading and persistence. If OS is greater in these individuals, oxidant/antioxidant balance in TB-affected boars could be used as a biomarker of disease severity. The present work had a two-fold objective: i) to study the effects of bovine TB on different OS biomarkers (namely superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalasa (CAT), glutathione peroxidase (GPX), glutathione reductase (GR) and thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS)) in wild boar experimentally challenged with Mycobacterium bovis, and ii) to explore the role of body weight, sex, population and season in explaining the observed variability of OS indicators in two populations of free-ranging wild boar where TB is common. For the first objective, a partial least squares regression (PLSR) approach was used whereas, recursive partitioning with regression tree models (RTM) were applied for the second. A negative relationship between antioxidant enzymes and bovine TB (the more severe lesions, the lower the concentration of antioxidant biomarkers) was observed in experimentally infected animals. The final PLSR model retained the GPX, SOD and GR biomarkers and showed that 17.6% of the observed variability of antioxidant capacity was significantly correlated with the PLSR X's component represented by both disease status and the age of boars. In the samples from free-ranging wild boar, however, the environmental factors were more relevant to the observed variability of the OS biomarkers than the TB itself. For each OS biomarker, each RTM was defined as a maximum by one node due to the population effect. Along the same lines, the ad hoc tree regression on boars from the population with a higher prevalence of severe TB confirmed that disease status was not the main factor explaining the observed variability in OS biomarkers. It was concluded that oxidative damage caused by TB is significant, but can only be detected in the absence of environmental variation in wild boar.
Gassó, D., Vicente, J., Mentaberre, G., Soriguer, R., Jiménez Rodríguez, R., Navarro-González, N., … Serrano, E. (2016). Oxidative stress in wild boars naturally and experimentally infected with Mycobacterium bovis. PLoS ONE, 11(9). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0163971