Mechanisms of resistance and susceptibility to experimental visceral leishmaniosis: BALB/c mouse versus syrian hamster model

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Several animal models have been established to study visceral leishmaniosis (VL), a worldwide vector-borne disease affecting humans and domestic animals that constitutes a serious public health problem. BALB/c mice and Syrian hamsters are the most widely used experimental models. In this paper, we summarize the advantages and disadvantages of these two experimental models and discuss the results obtained using these models in different studies of VL. Studies using the BALB/c mouse model have underscored differences between the liver and spleen in the course of VL, indicating that pathological evaluation of the visceral organs is essential for understanding the immune mechanisms induced by Leishmania infantum infection. The main goal of this review is to collate the relevant literature on Leishmania pathogenesis into a sequence of events, providing a schematic view of the main components of adaptive and innate immunity in the liver and spleen after experimental infection with L. infantum or L. donovani. This review also presents several viewpoints and reflections about some controversial aspects of Leishmania research, including the choice of experimental model, route of administration, inoculum size and the relevance of pathology (intimately linked to parasite persistence): a thorough understanding of which is essential for future VL research and the successful development of efficient control strategies for Leishmania spp.
Authors’ contributions AN performed the histopathological analyses and participated in the design of the study. GDB, JAO, RDF and NME participated in the design and the discussion section of this paper. JC conceived of the study, carried out the experiments and wrote the paper. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
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Nieto, A., Domínguez-Bernal, G., Orden, J. A., De La Fuente, R., Madrid-Elena, N., & Carrión, J. (2011). Mechanisms of resistance and susceptibility to experimental visceral leishmaniosis: BALB/c mouse versus Syrian hamster model. Veterinary research, 42(1), 39.