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Pneumonic tularemia in rabbits resembles the human disease as illustrated by radiographic and hematological changes after infection

Reed, DS and Smith, L and Dunsmore, T and Trichel, A and Ortiz, LA and Cole, KS and Barry, E (2011) Pneumonic tularemia in rabbits resembles the human disease as illustrated by radiographic and hematological changes after infection. PLoS ONE, 6 (9).

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Background: Pneumonic tularemia is caused by inhalation of the gram negative bacterium, Francisella tularensis. Because of concerns that tularemia could be used as a bioterrorism agent, vaccines and therapeutics are urgently needed. Animal models of pneumonic tularemia with a pathophysiology similar to the human disease are needed to evaluate the efficacy of these potential medical countermeasures. Principal Findings: Rabbits exposed to aerosols containing Francisella tularensis strain SCHU S4 developed a rapidly progressive fatal pneumonic disease. Clinical signs became evident on the third day after exposure with development of a fever (>40.5°C) and a sharp decline in both food and water intake. Blood samples collected on day 4 found lymphopenia and a decrease in platelet counts coupled with elevations in erythrocyte sedimentation rate, alanine aminotransferase, cholesterol, granulocytes and monocytes. Radiographs demonstrated the development of pneumonia and abnormalities of intestinal gas consistent with ileus. On average, rabbits were moribund 5.1 days after exposure; no rabbits survived exposure at any dose (190-54,000 cfu). Gross evaluation of tissues taken at necropsy showed evidence of pathology in the lungs, spleen, liver, kidney and intestines. Bacterial counts confirmed bacterial dissemination from the lungs to the liver and spleen. Conclusions/Significance: The pathophysiology of pneumonic tularemia in rabbits resembles what has been reported for humans. Rabbits therefore are a relevant model of the human disease caused by type A strains of F. tularensis. © 2011 Reed et al.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Reed, DSdsreed@pitt.eduDSREED
Smith, L
Dunsmore, Ttlb35@pitt.eduTLB35
Trichel, Atrichel@pitt.eduTRICHEL0000-0002-7338-8814
Ortiz, LAlao1@pitt.eduLAO1
Cole, KSstefcole@pitt.eduSTEFCOLE
Barry, E
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Centers: Other Centers, Institutes, Offices, or Units > Center for Vaccine Research
Date: 13 September 2011
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: PLoS ONE
Volume: 6
Number: 9
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1371/journal.pone.0024654
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Environmental and Occupational Health
Refereed: Yes
MeSH Headings: Animals; Antigens, CD13--blood; Eating; Humans; Ileus--microbiology; Intestines--microbiology; Kidney--microbiology; Liver--microbiology; Lung--microbiology; Lymphopenia--microbiology; Platelet Count; Pneumonia--blood; Pneumonia--microbiology; Pneumonia--radiography; Rabbits; Spleen--microbiology; Tularemia--blood; Tularemia--microbiology; Tularemia--radiography
Other ID: NLM PMC3172242
PubMed Central ID: PMC3172242
PubMed ID: 21931798
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2012 19:56
Last Modified: 05 May 2022 10:55


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