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Infect Immun. 2003 Oct;71(10):5831-44.

Experimental Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection of cynomolgus macaques closely resembles the various manifestations of human M. tuberculosis infection.

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Department of Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA.


Nonhuman primates were used to develop an animal model that closely mimics human Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection. Cynomolgus macaques were infected with low doses of virulent M. tuberculosis via bronchoscopic instillation into the lung. All monkeys were successfully infected, based on tuberculin skin test conversion and peripheral immune responses to M. tuberculosis antigens. Progression of infection in the 17 monkeys studied was variable. Active-chronic infection, observed in 50 to 60% of monkeys, was characterized by clear signs of infection or disease on serial thoracic radiographs and in other tests and was typified by eventual progression to advanced disease. Approximately 40% of monkeys did not progress to disease in the 15 to 20 months of study, although they were clearly infected initially. These monkeys had clinical characteristics of latent tuberculosis in humans. Low-dose infection of cynomolgus macaques appears to represent the full spectrum of human M. tuberculosis infection and will be an excellent model for the study of pathogenesis and immunology of this infection. In addition, this model will provide an opportunity to study the latent M. tuberculosis infection observed in approximately 90% of all infected humans.

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