, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 362-370
Date: 12 Oct 2010

M. tuberculosis H37Rv Infection of Chinese Rhesus Macaques

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Mycobacterium tuberculosis is the most common communicable infectious disease worldwide and the top killer of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected people. Because of common dual HIV and M. tuberculosis infections, the emergence of multidrug-resistant M. tuberculosis strains, the lack of effective vaccination, the morbidity, and the mortality of M. tuberculosis infection are increasing sharply. Therefore, there is an urgent need for vaccine and drug development against M. tuberculosis infection. These require appropriate animal models that closely resemble human disease. To this end, we infected Chinese rhesus macaques with the M. tuberculosis H37Rv strain. Bronchoscopy was used to inoculate nine monkeys with different doses of M. tuberculosis H37Rv strain. Regardless of the M. tuberculosis dose, all monkeys were infected successfully. This was shown by clinical, laboratory, and histopathology assessments. Among nine infected monkeys, six developed acute rapid progressive tuberculosis and the remaining animals mirrored early-stage chronic disease. These data, taken together, demonstrate that Chinese rhesus macaques are highly susceptible to M. tuberculosis infection and develop similar manifestations of disease that are seen in humans. This model affords new opportunities for studies of M. tuberculosis disease pathology and therapeutics.

Jing Zhang and Yan-Qing Ye contributed equally to this study.
Part of this work was presented in the 15th SNIP Scientific Conference, Wuhan City, Hubei, P.R. China, April 21–24, 2009.