Ovine coenurosis is a disease condition characterized by nervous manifestations that is associated with severe economic losses for sheep farm owners. This study was conducted to investigate the expression of myelin basic protein (MBP) gene in various regions of the brain in affected animals at different ages. We also studied the prevalence of coenurosis in Dakhlia governorate with parasitological and electron microscopic examinations to evaluate the severity of infestation. Ourresults revealed that MBP expression was down regulated in all brain regions at different ages. A hundred-fold reduction in MBP expression wasobserved in the cerebral cortex and a 500-fold decrease was observed in sheep older than one year. However, no differences were observed in MBP expression at different ages or different brain regions. Moreover, the highest prevalence of ovine coenurosis in Dakhlia governorate was in Belqas city in sheep aged more than 12 months with the highest incidence in the cerebral cortex. Electron microscopic examination revealed demyelination in nerve tracts with the existence of gitter cells indicating the severity of coenurosis. From these results, we concluded that MBP is down-regulated in sheep affected with coenurosis and could serve as a novel marker for ovine coenurosis and other demyelinating diseases in sheep.
Key words: Ovine, Coenurosis, parasitic diseases, myelin basic protein