Intratracheal Inoculation with Brucella melitensis in the Pregnant Guinea Pig Is an Improved Model for Reproductive Pathogenesis and Vaccine Studies.
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Reproductive failure is the hallmark of brucellosis in animals. An uncommon but important complication in pregnant women who become acutely infected with Brucella melitensis is spontaneous pregnancy loss or vertical transmission to the fetus. Unfortunately, the mechanism behind reproductive failure is still obscure, partially due to the lack of a proper study model. Recently, it was demonstrated that intratracheal (IT) inoculation of nonpregnant guinea pigs would replicate features of clinical disease in humans. To determine if IT inoculation would induce reproductive disease, guinea pigs were infected at mid-gestation and monitored daily for fever and abortions. Fever developed between day 14 to 18 postinoculation, and by 3 weeks postinoculation, 75% of pregnant guinea pigs experienced stillbirths or spontaneous abortions mimicking natural disease. Next, to investigate the guinea pig as a model for evaluating vaccine efficacy during pregnancy, nonpregnant guinea pigs were vaccinated with S19, 16MvjbR + Quil-A, or 100l PBS + Quil-A (as control). Guinea pigs were bred and vaccinated guinea pigs were challenged at mid-gestation with B. melitensis IT inoculation and monitored for fever and abortions. Vaccination with both vaccines prevented fever and protected against abortion. Together, this study indicates that pregnant guinea pigs are an appropriate animal model to study reproductive disease and offer an improved model to evaluate the ability of vaccine candidates to protect against a serious manifestation of disease.