Parasitology Research

, Volume 116, Issue 1, pp 449–454 | Cite as

Genetic characterization of Theileria orientalis from cattle in the Republic of Korea

  • Jinho Park
  • Yu-Jung Han
  • Du-Gyeong Han
  • Jeong-Byoung Chae
  • Joon-Seok Chae
  • Do-Hyeon Yu
  • Young-Sung Lee
  • Bae-Keun Park
  • Hyeon-Cheol Kim
  • Kyoung-Seong ChoiEmail author
Short Communication


Theileria orientalis is the causative agent of benign theileriosis, which is distributed mainly in Asian countries, and causes serious economic losses in the livestock industry. The present study was performed to investigate the epidemiology of T. orientalis infections in cattle in the Republic of Korea (ROK) and to characterize the genetic diversity of T. orientalis based on the major piroplasm surface protein (MPSP) genes. In 2015, between July and August, blood samples were collected from 138 asymptomatic cattle in four different geographical regions (Hoengseong, Jeongeup, Namwon, and Jeju island) in the ROK. In total, 57 blood samples (41.3 %, 57/138) were positive for T. orientalis based on PCR amplification of the MPSP gene. A high prevalence of T. orientalis infection was observed in Jeju island, whereas the infection rate was relatively low in Jeongeup. Phylogenetic analysis showed that isolates identified in this study belonged to four MPSP genotypes, specifically types 1, 2, 3, and 7. The distribution of the four genotypes varied considerably among the four regions; types 1, 2, and 3 were detected in Jeju island, whereas types 1 and 7 were found in Namwon, types 1 and 2 in Jeongeup, and type 2 in Hoengseong. To our knowledge, this is the first report on the identification of type 7 T. orientalis in cattle in the ROK. These results suggest that the MPSP genotypes detected in this study showed genetic diversity related to geographical location. Our findings revealed that the T. orientalis infection rate was relatively high, indicating that T. orientalis infection is closely associated with grazing. Of the four MPSP genotypes, the prevalence of the most pathogenic type 2 was relatively high in the ROK. Therefore, further studies should focus on the development of an effective monitoring and prevention program for T. orientalis.


Theileria orientalis Major piroplasm surface protein Cattle Genetic variation 



This work was carried out with the support of the Cooperative Research Program for Agriculture Science and Technology Development (Project No. PJ01197804), Rural Development Administration, Republic of Korea.

Compliance with ethical standards

All procedures were performed according to the ethics guidelines for the use of animal samples as permitted by Chonbuk National University. Consent was obtained from cattle owners for the collection of blood samples by an experienced, practicing veterinarian.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jinho Park
    • 1
  • Yu-Jung Han
    • 2
  • Du-Gyeong Han
    • 2
  • Jeong-Byoung Chae
    • 3
  • Joon-Seok Chae
    • 3
  • Do-Hyeon Yu
    • 4
  • Young-Sung Lee
    • 1
  • Bae-Keun Park
    • 5
  • Hyeon-Cheol Kim
    • 6
  • Kyoung-Seong Choi
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.College of Veterinary MedicineChonbuk National UniversityIksanRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.College of Ecology and Environmental ScienceKyungpook National UniversitySangjuRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.Laboratory of Veterinary Internal Medicine, BK21 PLUS Program for Creative Veterinary Science Research, Research Institute for Veterinary Science and College of Veterinary MedicineSeoul National UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea
  4. 4.College of Veterinary MedicineChonnam National UniversityGwangjuRepublic of Korea
  5. 5.College of Veterinary MedicineChungnam National UniversityDaejeonRepublic of Korea
  6. 6.College of Veterinary MedicineKangwon National UniversityChuncheonRepublic of Korea

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