Author(s): Vasconcelos D, Barnewall R, Babin M, Hunt R, Estep J,
Abstract Share this page
Abstract Anthrax is considered a serious biowarfare and bioterrorism threat because of its high lethality, especially by the inhalation route. Rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) are the most commonly used nonhuman primate model of human inhalation anthrax exposure. The nonavailability of rhesus macaques necessitated development of an alternate model for vaccine testing and immunologic studies. This report describes the median lethal dose (LD(50)) and pathology of inhalation anthrax in cynomolgus macaques (Macaca fascicularis). Gross and microscopic tissue changes were reviewed in 14 cynomolgus monkeys that died or were killed after aerosol exposure of spores of Bacillus anthracis (Ames strain). The LD(50) and 95\% confidence intervals were 61800 (34000 to 110000) colony-forming units. The most common gross lesions were mild splenomegaly, lymph node enlargement, and hemorrhages in various organs, particularly involving the meninges and the lungs. Mediastinitis, manifested as hemorrhage or edema, affected 29\% of the monkeys. Microscopically, lymphocytolysis occurred in the intrathoracic lymph nodes and spleens of all animals, and was particularly severe in the spleen and in germinal centers of lymph nodes. Hemorrhages were common in lungs, bronchial lymph nodes, meninges, gastrointestinal tract, and mediastinum. These results demonstrate that the Ames strain of B. anthracis is lethal by the inhalation route in the cynomolgus macaque. The LD(50) of the Ames strain of B. anthracis was within the expected experimental range of previously reported values in the rhesus monkey in an aerosol challenge. The gross and microscopic pathology of inhalation anthrax in the cynomolgus monkey is remarkably similar to that reported in rhesus monkeys and humans. The results of this study are important for the establishment of an alternative nonhuman primate model for evaluation of medical countermeasures against inhalational anthrax.
This article was published in Lab Invest
and referenced in Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals