Papillomatous digital dermatitis (PDD) is a foot disease causing lameness in dairy cattle. It is regarded as a polymicrobial infection, although its etiology is not fully understood. PDD is treated by the topical or systemic administration of antibiotics such as lincomycin (LCM); however, the milk of the cows cannot be marketed during the treatment and withdrawal period due to the residual antibiotics in milk. Allyl isothiocyanate (AITC), an extract of Wasabia japonica (known as wasabi or Japanese horseradish) widely employed as a food additive, can be used as an alternative antimicrobial agent that overcomes this problem. We previously showed that AITC is as effective as LCM in PDD treatment. Here, using the samples obtained in the previous clinical study, we analyzed changes in the bacterial population in the PDD-associated microbiota after AITC treatment and compared those with that following LCM treatment by 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA)-based amplicon analysis. Both treatments induced major changes in the bacterial population, and Treponema species, which have been regarded as the major causative agents of PDD, were efficiently eliminated by both agents. However, the AITC-treated samples exhibited higher diversity compared with pretreatment samples, but this trend was not observed for LCM treatment, probably reflecting different antibacterial activities of the two agents. Importantly, this analysis detected population changes before morphological changes in PDD lesions (clinical signs of healing) became evident, indicating that 16S rRNA-based amplicon analysis represents an efficient strategy for analyzing and monitoring the treatment efficiency of PDD as well as other polymicrobial diseases.
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