alexa Inhalational anthrax (Ames aerosol) in naïve and vaccinated New Zealand rabbits: characterizing the spread of bacteria from lung deposition to bacteremia.
General Science

General Science

Journal of Bioterrorism & Biodefense

Author(s): Gutting BW, Nichols TL, Channel SR, Gearhart JM, Andrews GA,

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Abstract There is a need to better understand inhalational anthrax in relevant animal models. This understanding could aid risk assessment, help define therapeutic windows, and provide a better understanding of disease. The aim here was to characterize and quantify bacterial deposition and dissemination in rabbits following exposure to single high aerosol dose (> 100 LD(50)) of Bacillus anthracis (Ames) spores immediately following exposure through 36 h. The primary goal of collecting the data was to support investigators in developing computational models of inhalational anthrax disease. Rabbits were vaccinated prior to exposure with the human vaccine (Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed, AVA) or were sham-vaccinated, and were then exposed in pairs (one sham and one AVA) so disease kinetics could be characterized in equally-dosed hosts where one group is fully protected and is able to clear the infection (AVA-vaccinated), while the other is susceptible to disease, in which case the bacteria are able to escape containment and replicate uncontrolled (sham-vaccinated rabbits). Between 4-5\% of the presented aerosol dose was retained in the lung of sham- and AVA-vaccinated rabbits as measured by dilution plate analysis of homogenized lung tissue or bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid. After 6 and 36 h, >80\% and >96\%, respectively, of the deposited spores were no longer detected in BAL, with no detectable difference between sham- or AVA-vaccinated rabbits. Thereafter, differences between the two groups became noticeable. In sham-vaccinated rabbits the bacteria were detected in the tracheobronchial lymph nodes (TBLN) 12 h post-exposure and in the circulation at 24 h, a time point which was also associated with dramatic increases in vegetative CFU in the lung tissue of some animals. In all sham-vaccinated rabbits, bacteria increased in both TBLN and blood through 36 h at which point in time some rabbits succumbed to disease. In contrast, AVA-vaccinated rabbits showed small numbers of CFU in TBLN between 24 and 36 h post-exposure with small numbers of bacteria in the circulation only at 24 h post-exposure. These results characterize and quantify disease progression in naïve rabbits following aerosol administration of Ames spores which may be useful in a number of different research applications, including developing quantitative models of infection for use in human inhalational anthrax risk assessment.
This article was published in Front Cell Infect Microbiol and referenced in Journal of Bioterrorism & Biodefense

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