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Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 2012;357:243-57. doi: 10.1007/82_2011_173.

Animal models of ricin toxicosis.

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Tulane National Primate Research Center, Tulane School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA.


Animal models of ricin toxicosis are necessary for testing the efficacy of therapeutic measures, as well studying the mechanisms by which ricin exerts its toxicity in intact animals. Because ricin can serve as a particularly well-characterized model of tissue damage, and the host response to that damage, studies of the mechanisms of ricin toxicity may have more general applicability. For example, our studies of the molecular mechanisms underlying the development of ricin-induced hypoglycemia may help elucidate the relationship of type II diabetes, insulin resistance, and inflammation. Studies in non-human primates are most relevant for testing and developing agents having clinical utility. But these animals are expensive and limited in quantity, and so rodents are used for most mechanistic studies.

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