Leptospirosis is a major zoonotic disease, especially in the tropics, and rodents were known to be carriers of this bacterium. There was established information on Leptospira prevalence among animal reservoirs in human-dominated landscapes from previous literature. However, there was very little focus given comparing the prevalence of Leptospira in a wide range of habitats. An extensive sampling of small mammals from various landscapes was carried out, covering oil palm plantations, paddy fields, recreational forests, semi-urbans, and wet markets in Peninsular Malaysia. This study aims to determine the prevalence of pathogenic Leptospira in a diversity of small mammals across different landscapes. Cage-trapping was deployed for small mammals' trappings, and the kidneys of captured individuals were extracted, for screening of pathogenic Leptospira by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using LipL32 primer. Eight microhabitat parameters were measured at each study site. Out of 357 individuals captured, 21 (5.9%) were positive for pathogenic Leptospira of which recreational forest had the highest prevalence (8.8%) for landscape types, whereas Sundamys muelleri shows the highest prevalence (50%) among small mammals' species. Microhabitat analysis reveals that rubbish quantity (p
Two mitogenomes of long-tailed giant rat, Leopoldamys sabanus (Thomas, 1887), which belongs to the family Muridae were sequenced and assembled in this study. Both mitogenomes have a length of 15,973 bp and encode 13 protein-coding genes (PCGs), 22 transfer RNA genes, two ribosomal RNA genes and one control region. The circular molecule of L. sabanus has a typical vertebrate gene arrangement. Phylogenetic and BLASTn analysis using 10 Leopoldamys species mitogenomes revealed sequence variation occurred within species from different time zones. Along with the taxonomic issues, this suggests a landscape change might influence genetic connectivity.
A study of the population size of Bandicota bengalensis rats in three markets in Penang was conducted from April 2004 through May 2005. Taman Tun Sardon Market (TTS), Batu Lanchang Market (BTLG) and Bayan Lepas Market (BYNLP) were surveyed. Six sampling sessions were conducted in each market for four consecutive nights per session. The total captures of B. bengalensis in TTS, BTLG and BYNLP were 92%, 73% and 89% respectively. The total population of B. bengalensis in TTS was estimated as 265.4 (with a 95% confidence interval of 180.9-424.2). The total population at BTLG was estimated as 69.9 (with a 95% confidence interval of 35.5-148.9). At BYNLP, the total population was estimated as 134.7 (with a 95% confidence interval of 77.8-278.4). In general, adult male rats were captured most frequently at each site (55.19%), followed by adult females (31.69%), juvenile males (9.84%) and juvenile females (3.27%). The results showed that the number of rats captured at each site differed significantly according to sex ratio and maturity (χ(2) = 121.45, df = 3, p<0.01). Our results suggest that the population sizes found by the study may not represent the actual population size in each market owing to the low numbers of rats recaptured. This finding might have resulted from the variety of foods available in the markets.
A survey of ectoparasites was carried out during Eco-Zoonoses Expedition in Bukit Aup Jubilee Park (BAJP), Sibu, Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo from 5(th) to 9(th) June 2008. A total of nine individuals comprising two species of rodents were captured. The species of rodents screened for ectoparasites were Sundamys muelleri and Callosciurus notatus. Four genera and six species of ectoparasites were collected, namely, Ixodes granulatus, Ixodes sp., Laelaps sedlaceki, Laelaps nuttalli, Hoplopleura dissicula and Listrophoroides sp. Three species of the ectoparasites are known to have potential health risk. The species were Ixodes granulatus, Laelaps nuttalli and Hoplopleura dissicula. This survey produced the first list of ectoparasites in Bukit Aup Jubilee Park, Sarawak, Malaysia.
Although leptospirosis is traditionally considered a disease of rural, agricultural and flooded environments, Leptospira spp. are found in a range of habitats and infect numerous host species, with rodents among the most significant reservoirs and vectors. To explore the local ecology of Leptospira spp. in a city experiencing rapid urbanization, we assessed Leptospira prevalence in rodents from three locations in Malaysian Borneo with differing levels of anthropogenic influence: 1) high but stable influence (urban); 2) moderate yet increasing (developing); and 3) low (rural). A total of 116 urban, 122 developing and 78 rural rodents were sampled, with the majority of individuals assigned to either the Rattus rattus lineage R3 (n = 165) or Sundamys muelleri (n = 100). Leptospira spp. DNA was detected in 31.6% of all rodents, with more urban rodents positive (44.8%), than developing (32.0%) or rural rodents (28.1%), and these differences were statistically significant. The majority of positive samples were identified by sequence comparison to belong to known human pathogens L. interrogans (n = 57) and L. borgpetersenii (n = 38). Statistical analyses revealed that both Leptospira species occurred more commonly at sites with higher anthropogenic influence, particularly those with a combination of commercial and residential activity, while L. interrogans infection was also associated with low forest cover, and L. borgpetersenii was more likely to be identified at sites without natural bodies of water. This study suggests that some features associated with urbanization may promote the circulation of Leptospira spp., resulting in a potential public health risk in cities that may be substantially underestimated.
Water deprivation of the Spinifex hopping mouse, Notomys alexis, induced a biphasic pattern of food intake with an initial hypophagia that was followed by an increased, and then sustained food intake. The mice lost approximately 20% of their body mass and there was a loss of white adipose tissue. Stomach ghrelin mRNA was significantly higher at day 2 of water deprivation but then returned to the same levels as water-replete (day 0) mice for the duration of the experiment. Plasma ghrelin was unaffected by water deprivation except at day 10 where it was significantly increased. Plasma leptin levels decreased at day 2 and day 5 of water deprivation, and then increased significantly by the end of the water deprivation period. Water deprivation caused a significant decrease in skeletal muscle leptin mRNA expression at days 2 and 5, but then it returned to day 0 levels by day 29. In the hypothalamus, water deprivation caused a significant up-regulation in both ghrelin and neuropeptide Y mRNA expression, respectively. In contrast, hypothalamic GHSR1a mRNA expression was significantly down-regulated. A significant increase in LepRb mRNA expression was observed at days 17 and 29 of water deprivation. This study demonstrated that the sustained food intake in N. alexis during water deprivation was uncoupled from peripheral appetite-regulating signals, and that the hypothalamus appears to play an important role in regulating food intake; this may contribute to the maintenance of fluid balance in the absence of free water.
The Nile rat (Arvicanthis niloticus) is a novel diurnal carbohydrate-sensitive rodent useful for studies on type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and the metabolic syndrome. Hepatic responses to T2DM and any interventions thereof can be evaluated via transcriptomic gene expression analysis. However, the study of gene expression via real-time reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) requires identification of stably expressed reference genes for accurate normalisation. This study describes the evaluation and identification of stable reference genes in the livers from Control Nile rats as well as those supplemented with Water-Soluble Palm Fruit Extract, which has been previously shown to attenuate T2DM in this animal model. Seven genes identified as having stable expression in RNA-Sequencing transcriptome analysis were chosen for verification using real-time RT-qPCR. Six commonly used reference genes from previous literature and two genes from a previous microarray gene expression study in Nile rats were also evaluated. The expression data of these 15 candidate reference genes were analysed using the RefFinder software which incorporated analyses performed by various algorithms. The Hpd, Pnpla6 and Vpp2 genes were identified as the most stable across the 36 samples tested. Their applicability was demonstrated through the normalisation of the gene expression profiles of two target genes, Cela1 and Lepr. In conclusion, three novel reference genes which can be used for robust normalisation of real-time RT-qPCR data were identified, thereby facilitating future hepatic gene expression studies in the Nile rat.
Rodents belong to the order Rodentia, which consists of three families in Borneo (i.e., Muridae, Sciuridae and Hystricidae). These include rats, mice, squirrels, and porcupines. They are widespread throughout the world and considered pests that harm humans and livestock. Some rodent species are natural reservoirs of hantaviruses (Family: Bunyaviridae) that can cause zoonotic diseases in humans. Although hantavirus seropositive human sera were reported in Peninsular Malaysia in the early 1980s, information on their infection in rodent species in Malaysia is still lacking. The rodent populations in residential and forested areas in Sarawak were sampled. A total of 108 individuals from 15 species of rodents were collected in residential (n = 44) and forested ( n = 64) areas. The species diversity of rodents in forested areas was significantly higher (H = 2.2342) compared to rodents in residential areas (H = 0.64715) (p < 0.001 of Zar-t test based on the Shannon index). Rattus rattus and Sundamys muelleri were present at high frequencies in both localities. An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) showed that hantavirus-targeting antibodies were absent from 53 tested serum samples. This is the first report of hantavirus seroprevalence surveillance in rodent populations in Sarawak, East Malaysia. The results suggested that hantavirus was not circulating in the studied rodent populations in Sarawak, or it was otherwise at a low prevalence that is below the detection threshold. It is important to remain vigilant because of the zoonotic potential of this virus and its severe disease outcome. Further studies, such as molecular detection of viral genetic materials, are needed to fully assess the risk of hantavirus infection in rodents and humans in this region of Malaysia.