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"Cara inchada" of cattle, an infectious, apparently soil antibiotics-dependant periodontitis in Brazil

DOI: 10.1590/S0100-736X2000000200001

Keywords: "cara inchada", cattle, periodontitis, bacteroides melaninogenicus, determinant factor, soil antibiotics, streptomycin, actinomycin.

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the objective of this review on the investigation of "cara inchada" in cattle (ci), pursued over the last 30 years, was to elucidate the pathogenicity of the disease and come to proper conclusions on its etiology. ci has been widely considered to be of nutritional origin, caused primarily by mineral deficiency or imbalance. however, the disease consists of a rapidly progressive periodontitis, affecting the periodontal tissues at the level of the premolars and molars during the period of tooth eruption generally starting in young calves. the disease led to great economic losses for farmers in central-western brazil, after the occupation of new land for cattle raising in the 1960s and 1970s. the lateral enlargement of the maxillary bones of affected calves gave the disease the popular name of "cara inchada", i.e., swollen or enlarged face. the enlargement was found to be due to a chronic ossifying periostitis resulting from the purulent alveolitis of ci. black-pigmented non-saccharolytic bacteroides melaninogenicus, always together with actinomyces (corynebacterium) pyogenes, were isolated in large numbers from the periodontal lesions. b. melaninogenicus could be isolated in small numbers also from the marginal gingiva of a few healthy calves maintained on ci-free farms. "in vitro"-assays showed that streptomycin and actinomycin, as well as the supernatants of cultivates of actinomycetes from soils of ci-prone farms, applied in subinhibitory concentrations to the bacteria tested, enhanced significantly (up to 10 times) the adherence of the black-pigmented b.melaninogenicus to epithelial cells of the bovine gingiva. the antibiotics are apparently produced in large quantities by the increased number of soil actinomycetes, including the genus streptomyces, that develop when soil microflora are modified by cultivating virgin forest or "cerrado" (tree-savanna) for the first time for cattle grazing. the epidemiology of ci now provides strong evidence that the ingestion with


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