Effect of various dietary regimens on oral challenge with Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis in a rabbit model
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Rabbits are susceptible to infection by Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP) in both wildlife and experimental conditions. Under the hypotheses that nutrient balance might influence the establishment of infection, we designed an experiment where MAP intestinal colonization was assessed under three dietary regimens: high fiber, high protein, and regular diet in New Zealand white rabbits submitted to oral challenge with MAP.Lowest weight gain (F=5.17, p=0.024), higher tissue culture positivity rates (<inf>X</inf>2=7.43, p=0.024) and especially extended MAP-compatible lesions (F=5.78, p=0.017) were detected in the regular diet.Taken altogether, results indicate that paratuberculosis infection was achieved affecting mostly regular diet animals and showing that dietary changes may modulate the course of the infection.