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Molecular detection of Hepatozoon sp. in domestics cats in the states of Minas Gerais, São Paulo and Rondônia

Grant number: 20/12773-8
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): January 01, 2021
Effective date (End): December 31, 2021
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Veterinary Medicine - Preventive Veterinary Medicine
Principal researcher:Marcos Rogério André
Grantee:Isabela de Andrade
Home Institution: Faculdade de Ciências Agrárias e Veterinárias (FCAV). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Jaboticabal. Jaboticabal , SP, Brazil


Feline hepatozoonosis is an infection that affects wild and domestic cats and is caused by protozoans belonging to the genus Hepatozoon sp.. Little is known about the prevalence and genetic diversity of Hepatozoon species that occur in cats from Brazil, as well as the vectors involved in the transmission cycles. Clinical signs are nonspecific, with an increase in the enzymes lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and creatine kinase (CK) that are suggestives of muscle damage. The presence of clinical signs in the infection by Hepatozoon spp. has been usually been associated with comorbidities. The present study aims to investigate the presence and characterize the DNA of Hepatozoon in blood samples from domestic cats sampled in the cities of Araguari and Uberlândia, in the state of Minas Gerais, in the city of Jaboticabal, in the state of São Paulo, and in the city of Rolim de Moura, state of Rondônia. Between August and September 2018, blood samples were collected from 390 domestic cats (88 from Uberlândia, 67 from Araguari, 151 from Jaboticabal and 84 from Rolim de Moura). Blood samples will be submitted to DNA extraction and conventional PCR assays for the endogenous mammalian gene glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (gapdh) and positive samples will be subjected to nPCR assays for Hepatozoon based on the 18S rRNA gene. Positive samples will be purified and sequenced by the Sanger method. The obtained sequences will be submitted to phylogenetic inferences to position them within an evolutionary relationship with Hepatozoon species detected in Brazil and other parts of the world. Additionally, analysis of diversity, haplotype network and Splistree distance analysis will also be performed. The present work will contribute to the understanding of the genetic diversity of Hepatozoon in felines from Brazil.

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