Murine Model of Thigh Infection

The thigh infection model provides a sensitive experimental system for initial studies of antimicrobial efficacy in a mammalian system. This model is the most standardised for the evaluation of antimicrobial-microbial interactions combined with antimicrobial pharmacokinetics assessed in serum and tissues samples. It is often used as the first in vivo model following on from in vitro testing – all currently used antimicrobial classes have been evaluated in this model.

Typically, mice are rendered neutropenic by cyclophosphamide treatment prior to infection. At Charles River we have validated this model with a wide range of clinically relevant strains, including: E. coli, Klebsiella and S. aureus (both MRSA and MSSA). The contained nature of the infection allows for both thighs to be infected independently, meaning increased sample size without increasing the animal number.

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Study Endpoints

  • Clinical scores including impaired mobility
  • Change in bodyweight and temperature
  • Bacterial load (CFU) in thigh muscle
  • In life imaging, luminescence – IVIS technology
  • Gross pathology
  • In vitro analysis of immune responses – ELISA, Luminex, T cell assays, FACS

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Validation Data

Bacterial load in thigh tissue following intramuscular infection with S. aureus
Figure 1. Log10 mean bacterial load in thigh muscle following infection with S. aureus (** p<0.01, *** p< 0.001, **** p<0.0001, unpaired t-test).