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Berl Munch Tierarztl Wochenschr 2008 Jan 01;1217-8:270-7.
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[Mycobacterium gordonae as potential cause of granulomatous lesions of the toe tips in the South African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis)]

Kirsch P , Nusser P , Hotzel H , Moser I .

During regular health status monitoring of the colony of amphibian, Mycobacterium (M.) gordonae were isolated from granulomatous lesions of the tiptoes from the South African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis) maintained at the Tierforschungszentrum of the University of Ulm. During a period of three years a total of 21 animals of the colony, consisting of 350-400 frogs, showed granuloma of the tip of the toes and a loss of the claws. The general condition and the behavior of the frogs appeared to be unchanged. Using a selective medium one isolate was cultured and identified by sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. To apply a rapid diagnostic method for detecting mycobacteria, in particular M. gordonae in the health monitoring programme of the Xenopus laevis colony, we established the rpoB gene PCR followed by HaeIII restriction analysis of the PCR product. We identified M. gordonae from granuloma of the tiptoes and from unaltered tissue samples of the lungs and skin by PCR restriction analysis. Since mycobacterial species apparently are widespread in granulomatous lesions of the tiptoes of Xenopus laevis, we hypothesize a pathogenic potential. This view is supported by an increasing number of reports in the literature on infections with nontuberculous, "non-pathogenic" mycobacteria in Xenopus laevis.

PubMed ID: 18712263