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Med Mycol. 2010 Feb;48(1):73-8. doi: 10.3109/13693780902718347.

Expression of the micro-opioid receptor on Malassezia pachydermatis and its effect in modulating phospholipase production.

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Department of Veterinary Public Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Bari, Valenzano, Bari, Italy.


Malassezia spp. may act as opportunistic skin pathogens in humans and animals. Malassezia pachydermatis proliferation and phospholipase production may play a pathogenic role in the occurrence of skin lesions in dogs. This study investigates the presence of mu-opioid receptor (MOR) in M. pachydermatis strains isolated from healthy dogs and dogs with skin lesions and its effects on phospholipase activity (p.a.). P.a. of 64 M. pachydermatis isolates was evaluated using different concentrations of naloxone (Nx), a MOR antagonist. Isolates were divided into Group A (i.e., 40 isolates from 26 dogs with dermatitis) and Group B (i.e., 24 isolates from 12 healthy dogs). The MOR expression was analyzed by Western blot and immunofluorescence. A statistically higher p.a. than that of the controls was found with isolates in Group A at a Nx concentration of 10(-6) M (P<0.05). No isolate in Group B displayed p.a. in either control samples or in the presence of any Nx concentration. Immunoblotting revealed two positive MOR immunoreactive bands of approximately 65 and 98 kDa. MOR expression and localization was also demonstrated by immunofluorescence in isolates from Groups A and B. This study provides the first evidence of MOR expression on M. pachydermatis cell membranes pointing to its possible role in modulating p.a. production in isolates from dogs with skin lesions.

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