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Treponema pallidum infection in subcutaneous polyethylene chambers in rabbits.

By R R Tight and R L Perkins


Male New Zealand white rabbits with subcutaneous polyethylene chambers in place for at least 3 months were inoculated by one of the following three methods: (i) "intra-chamber" (IC) inoculation with "normal" chamber fluid: (ii) intratesticular inoculation with Treponema pallidum; or (iii) IC inoculation with T. pallidum. Rabbits given dexamethasone only, oxisuran only, both drugs, or no drug were observed serially after inoculation. T. pallidum survived and temporarily multiplied to significant numbers within subucutaneous chambers after IC inoculation in rabbits given dexamethasone. In rabbits not treated with dexamethasone, T. pallidum counts in chamber fluid decreased rapidly and remained at low levels for 30 days after IC inoculation. Oxisuran appeared to have little or no effect on T. pallidum multiplication. All rabbits studied had a nonreactive serum and chamber fluid serological test for syphilis before inoculation. All rabbits inoculated with T. pallidum eventually developed reactive serum and chamber fluid serological tests. The IC route of inoculation was associated with a delay in the development of serum serological reactivity and with earlier chamber fluid reactivity as compared with the intratesticular route of inoculation. An immediate but transent influx of polymorphonuclear leukocytes was associated with IC inoculation of T. pallidum. Chamber fluid total protein content declined very slightly in all groups of rabbits during the month after inoculations. Successful cultivation of T. pallidum in an in vivo setting suggests that this animal model may be useful in further studies of the biology of the organism of the pathogenesis, immunology, and treatment of syphilis

Topics: Research Article
Year: 1976
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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