Background: Brucellosis is considered a main health concern in humans and animals. Neither familiar molecular methods nor the classical biotyping techniques are acceptable for subtyping Brucella spp. Loci containing variable number tandem repeats (VNTRs) have recently demonstrated their practicality in typing isolates from human and animal origin despite the excessive genetic homogeneity in the genus Brucella.
Methods: The genotypic characteristics of sixty-six Brucella melitensis and thirty-four Brucella abortus isolates from veterinary samples and human brucellosis cases in Iran during 2014 - 2018. They were analyzed using multiple-locus variable-number tandem-repeat analysis (MLVA) which consisted of sixteen primer pairs and designed and classified as belonging to one of the three panels: panel 1 (MLVA-8: eight loci including Bruce06, Bruce08, Bruce11, Bruce12, Bruce42, Bruce43, Bruce45, and Bruce55), panel 2A (three loci including Bruce18, Bruce19, and Bruce21), and panel 2B (five loci including Bruce04, Bruce07, Bruce09, Bruce16, and Bruce30); MLVA-11 (panels 1 and 2A), and MLVA-16 (panels 1, 2A, and 2B) using BioNumerics software (Version 7.6).
Results: Using panel 1, 2A, and 2B (MLVA-16), 59 genotypes with a genetic similarity coefficient ranging from 91 to 100% were obtained from the 100 Brucella spp. isolates. For all isolates, only genotype 36 and genotype 26 were obtained using panels 1 and 2A, respectively. The B. abortus isolates showed variations at 9 different genotypes, while B. melitensis isolates have been dispersed in 50 different genotypes. Bruce16 and Bruce4 showed the highest discriminatory power.
Conclusions: The MLVA-16 assay appeared to be a useful and important molecular genotyping tool that is capable of proving epidemiological linkages in outbreak and trace-back investigations and is helpful in improving the effectiveness of brucellosis control programs.