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Open Access Ralstonia pickettii-Induced Ataxia in Immunodeficient Mice

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We report here the characterization of an asymmetric ataxia syndrome (head tilt and circling, with death in the most severe cases) demonstrated by profoundly immunodeficient mice housed at the Institut Curie SPF facility. The immune system of the affected mice had been genetically modified so that they were deficient in both B and T cells. Extensive bacteriologic, parasitic, serologic, and histopathologic analysis of the affected animals and their healthy controls led us to identify Ralstonia pickettii as the causative agent of the ataxic syndrome. The outbreak was managed through a test-and-cull process. Even though they also carried Ralstonia pickettii, immunocompetent mice that were kept in the same facility, did not show any of the signs that were expressed by their immunodeficient counterparts. This case highlights the difficulty of maintaining immunocompetent and immunodeficient mice in the same microbiologic unit and the importance of enlarging the spectrum of health monitoring to opportunistic agents when investigating clinical cases in populations of immunocompromised rodents.

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Document Type: Case Report

Affiliations: 1: Institut Pasteur, Paris, France 2: Vebiotel, Arcueil, France 3: Charles River Laboratories, Wilmington, Massachusetts 4: Charles River Laboratories, L'Arbresle, France 5: In Vivo Experiments Platform, Research Center, Institut Curie, Paris, France, IFR Sciences du Médicament, Faculté des Sciences Pharmaceutiques et Biologiques Paris Descartes, Paris, France.

Publication date: 2009-04-01

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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