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Trends Microbiol. 2003 Dec;11(12):562-9.

Translating tissue culture results into animal models: the case of Salmonella typhimurium.

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Combined Program in Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Massachusetts General Hospital, 114 16th Street (114-3503), Charlestown, MA 02129, USA.


Investigators use both in vitro and in vivo models to better understand infectious disease processes. Both models are extremely useful in research, but there exists a significant gap in complexity between the highly controlled reductionist in vitro systems and the largely undefined, but relevant variability encompassing in vivo animal models. In an effort to understand how Salmonella initiates disease at the intestinal epithelium, in vitro models have served a useful purpose in allowing investigators to identify molecular mechanisms responsible for Salmonella invasion of host cells and stimulation of host inflammatory responses. Identification of these molecular mechanisms has generated hypotheses that are now being tested using in vivo models. Translating the in vitro findings into the context of an animal model and subsequently to human disease remains a difficult challenge for any disease process.

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