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Open Access The Physiologic Responses of Dutch Belted Rabbits Infected with Inhalational Anthrax

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Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, is a category A priority pathogen that causes extensive damage in humans. For this reason, B. anthracis has been the focus of numerous studies using various animal models. In this study, we explored physiologic parameters in Dutch belted rabbits with inhalation anthrax to characterize the disease progression in this model. To this end, we infected Dutch belted rabbits with 100 LD50 B. anthracis Ames spores by nasal instillation and continuously recorded various physiologic parameters by using telemetry. In addition, samples were collected at selected times for serum chemistry, hematology, and blood gas analysis. The animals exhibited hemodynamic and respiratory changes that coincided with those reported in human cases of inhalational anthrax infection, including hypotension, altered heart rate, and respiratory distress. Likewise, hematology, serum chemistry, and blood gas analysis revealed trends comparable to human anthrax-related pathophysiology. The Dutch belted rabbit model of inhalational anthrax exhibited most of the physiologic, hematologic, and biochemical sequelae noted in human cases. Therefore, this rabbit model fulfills several of the criteria of a useful animal model for studying disease pathogenesis and evaluating therapeutics during inhalational anthrax.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Microbiology and Immunology, The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas, USA. 2: Department of Microbiology and Immunology, The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas 3: Animal Resources Center, The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas 4: Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health, The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas

Publication date: June 1, 2009

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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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