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Lab Anim. 2002 Oct;36(4):357-72.

Diversifying animal models: the use of hispid cotton rats (Sigmodon hispidus) in infectious diseases.

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Institut für Virologie und Immunbiologie, Versbacher Str 7, 97078 Würzburg, Germany.


The hispid cotton rat (Sigmodon hispidus) has been a longstanding laboratory animal model of infectious diseases. In this review, the most common usage of hispid cotton rats as models of infectious diseases is discussed in detail and all organisms, which have been shown to infect cotton rats, are listed. A state of the art overview is given on handling and maintenance of hispid cotton rats as well as experimental techniques such as narcosis and blood withdrawal. Most importantly, through the development of new reagents, the hispid cotton rat can be used to study immune responses against the respective pathogen. Hispid cotton rat cytokine and chemokine genes have been sequenced and cotton rat specific antibodies and cell lines have been produced which in connection with the establishment of immunological methods should facilitate the use of hispid cotton rats as animal models in the pathogenesis of infectious diseases.

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