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Animal models

Lerat I, Cambau E, Roth Dit Bettoni R et al.

Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France.

 J Infect Dis 2014;209:905–12.

Christine Rønne Hansen’s review: Nontuberculous mycobacteria are found to cause chronic airway disease in an increasing number of cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. These bacteria are slow-growing and very difficult to treat because of their resistance to antibiotics. Although resistance-testing can be performed in vitro, there is a consensus that the results of these tests do not correlate with clinical effects in patients. Treatment of these infections is long-term (over months rather than weeks) and most commonly involves multiple antibiotics. This study by Lerat et al. describes a new in vivo mouse model of Mycobacterium abscessus infection and the use of this model for testing antibiotic activity.

The authors used different strains of mice to identify one that was suitable for the testing of antibiotic activity against M abscessus infection. The model required the intravenous injection of M abscessus, and mortality, macroscopic lesions in organs, and colony-forming unit counts in organs were the measures used for assessing severity of infection. The mice were studied for up to 75 days. After identifying nude (athymic) mice as the most appropriate model, this strain was used for antibiotic activity testing. The mice were treated with cefoxitin, clarithromycin, or amikacin as monotherapies, or a combination of all three agents. The newer antibiotics tigecycline and bedaquiline were also tested.

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