Drug Discov Ther. 2021;15(2):73-77. (DOI: 10.5582/ddt.2021.01035)

Evaluation of pathogenicity and therapeutic effectiveness of antibiotics using silkworm Nocardia infection model

Mikami K, Sonobe K, Ishino K, Noda T, Kato M, Hanao M, Hamamoto H, SekimizuK, Okazaki M


Nocardia is a ubiquitous environmental microbe that causes nocardiosis against immunosuppressed and immunocompromised hosts. The assay system for the quantitative evaluation of virulence of Nocardia sp. or therapeutic effectiveness of antimicrobials for treatment of nocardiosis is not established so far. In this study, we established an infection model of Nocardia sp. using silkworm as an alternative animal model. We found that all tested Nocardia sp. such as Nocardia asiatica, Nocardia elegans, Nocardia exalbida, Nocardia farcinica, and Nocardia nova killed silkworm and their killing ability were different by species. N. farcinica showed higher pathogenicity among tested strain, similar to the mouse model as previously reported. In addition, we found that antimicrobials such as amikacin and minocycline showed therapeutic effectiveness in silkworms infected with N. farcinica, and we could determine effective doses 50 (ED50) values. These results suggest that silkworm is a useful alternative animal to evaluate the pathogenicity of Nocardia pathogen and the therapeutic effects of antimicrobials against Nocardia sp. in a quantitative manner.

KEYWORDS: Nocardia, virulence, silkworm infection model, nocardiosis, N. farcinica

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