December CVM Research Roundup

A look at some of the newest published studies coming out of the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine.

  • Canine exposure to the bacterium Bartonella does not appear to be limited to a geographical region or time of the year, according to a comprehensive study published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine. A quintet of CVM researchers — Ed Breitschwerdt, resident Erin Lashnits, Maria Correa, Barbara Hegarty and Adam Birkenheuer — found exposure to Bartonella in about 4 percent of canine samples submitted between 2008 to 2014. Those exposed came from all over North America and the exposure happened during many different times of the year. Those more likely to be exposed to Bartonella were intact males, mixed breeds and dogs exposed to other vector-borne diseases. The work sheds light on the still-mysterious Bartonella and Bartonellosis, the group of infectious diseases it causes. The team’s research is the largest Bartonella epidemiological database reported in veterinary literature to date. Read the study here.
  • A neuronal network of the gastrointestinal tract can guide migration of colorectal cancer cells, according to a study co-authored by Laurianne Van Landeghem and Christophe Guilluy. Published in Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the study finds that colorectal cancer cells adhere to and migrate along neurons of the enteric nervous system. The findings could open new avenues of research involving the mechanisms and consequences of perineural invasion in colorectal cancer, which lead to an estimated 50,000 deaths this year. Read the study here.
  • A study co-authored by Tobias Kaeser finds that using a swine model can effectively contribute to research of sexually transmitted infections in humans. The research found that naturally occurring diseases in pigs can be used to study similar infectious diseases in men and women, such as chlamydia, one of the world’s most common STIs. The work was published in Infection, Genetics and Evolution. Read the study here.
  • Female chimpanzees who leave home or lose their own mother postpone their own parenthood, according to a study co-authored by Christopher Walker. The study, culled from from the 50 years of data, found that wild chimpanzee females in Tanzania who leave home or are orphaned take about three years longer to start a family compared to a chimpanzee that stays with the group they were born into. The Journal of Human Evolution published the work. Kara Walker, a postdoctoral associate in Duke University’s department of evolutionary anthropology, and Christopher Walker’s wife, is a co-author of the work. Among the research’s other findings: Females starting giving birth earlier if their own mothers were around and that a lengthy journey from childhood to adulthood for chimps is more in line with human development than previously thought. Read the study here.
  • A study co-authored by Craig Harms shows for the first time that right whale stress hormones can be accurately measured by sifting through the animals’ feces. The paper, published in Endangered Species Research, found that right whales chronically entangled by nets or ropes show stress levels significantly greater than those unimpeded. Such entanglements are now the leading cause of death for North Atlantic right whales, an endangered species. Read the study here.