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FEMS Microbiol Rev. 2004 Feb;28(1):101-12.

Exploiting the potential of insects for in vivo pathogenicity testing of microbial pathogens.

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Medical Mycology Unit, Department of Biology, National Institute for Cellular Biotechnology, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Ireland.


Conventional assays for quantifying the virulence of microbial pathogens and mutants have traditionally relied upon the use of a range of mammalian species. A number of workers have demonstrated that insects can be used for evaluating microbial pathogenicity and provide results comparable to those that can be obtained with mammals since one component of the vertebrate immune system, the innate immune response, remains similar to that found in insects. Larvae of the Greater Wax Moth Galleria mellonella have been used to evaluate the virulence of a range of bacterial and fungal pathogens and a correlation with the virulence of these microbes in mice has been established. This review highlights the similarities of the vertebrate and insect innate immune responses to infection and identifies the potential use of insects for the in vivo evaluation of the microbial pathogenicity.

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