Characterization of Brucella canis infection in mice. Academic Article uri icon


  • Canine brucellosis, caused by Brucella canis, is a disease of dogs and represents a public health concern as it can be transmitted to humans. Canine brucellosis is on the rise in the United States and there is currently no vaccine for use in dogs. Mice have been extensively utilized to investigate host-pathogen interactions and vaccine candidates for smooth Brucella species and could serve a similar role for studying B. canis. However, comparatively little is known about B. canis infection in mice. The objective of this study was to characterize the kinetics of colonization and pathogenicity of B. canis in mice in order to evaluate the mouse as a model for studying this pathogen. C57BL/6 mice were inoculated intraperitoneally with 105, 107, or 109 CFU of Brucella canis RM6/66 and euthanized 1-, 2-, 4-, 6-, 9-, and 12-weeks post-inoculation. B. canis induced splenomegaly in mice infected with 109 CFU at 1- and 2 weeks post-inoculation while no gross lesions were observed in other dose groups. Infection at the two higher doses resulted in dose-dependent granulomatous hepatitis and histiocytic infiltration of the spleen and mesenteric lymph nodes by 1-2 weeks. B. canis was cultured from the liver, spleen, uterus, bone marrow, lung, and kidney in all groups with colonization declining at a slow but steady rate throughout the experiment. Clearance was achieved by 9 weeks 105 CFU group and by 12 weeks in the 107 CFU group, while B. canis persisted in the spleen until 12 weeks in the highest dose group. Although B. canis does not demonstrate significant replication in C57BL/6 mice, it has the ability to establish an infection, induce splenomegaly, and persist for several weeks in multiple organs. Moreover, 1 x 107 CFU appears to be a suitable challenge dose for investigating vaccine safety.

published proceedings

  • PLoS One

author list (cited authors)

  • Stranahan, L. W., Khalaf, O. H., Garcia-Gonzalez, D. G., & Arenas-Gamboa, A. M.

citation count

  • 6

complete list of authors

  • Stranahan, Lauren W||Khalaf, Omar H||Garcia-Gonzalez, Daniel G||Arenas-Gamboa, Angela M

editor list (cited editors)

  • Roop, R. M.

publication date

  • June 2019