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You are here: Contents > 2013 > Volume 22 Number 3 May 2013 > DEVICE EVALUATION > Porcine Models of Non-Bacterial Thrombotic Endocarditis (NBTE) and Infective Endocarditis (IE) Caused by Staphylococcus aureus: A Preliminary Study

Porcine Models of Non-Bacterial Thrombotic Endocarditis (NBTE) and Infective Endocarditis (IE) Caused by Staphylococcus aureus: A Preliminary Study

Johanna G. Christiansen1, Henrik E. Jensen1, Louise K. Johansen1, Janne Koch1, Jorgen Koch2, Bent Aalbak1, Ole L. Nielsen1, Pall S. Leifsson1

Departments of 1Veterinary Disease Biology and 2Small Animal Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Background and aim of the study: Non-bacterial thrombotic endocarditis (NBTE) and, in particular, infective endocarditis (IE), are serious and potentially life-threatening diseases. An increasingly important agent of human IE is Staphylococcus aureus, which typically causes an acute endocarditis with high mortality. The study aim was to evaluate the pig as a model for non-bacterial as well as S. aureus-associated endocarditis, as these models would have several advantages compared to other laboratory animal models.

Methods: Fourteen animals underwent surgery with placement of a plastic catheter in the left side of the heart. Six of the pigs did not receive a bacterial inoculation and were used to study the development of NBTE. The remaining eight pigs were inoculated intravenously once or twice with S. aureus, 105-107 cfu/kg body weight. Two bacterial strains were used: S54F9 (porcine) and NCTC8325-4 (human). Clinical examination, echocardiography and bacterial blood cultures were used to diagnose and monitor the development of endocarditis. Animals were euthanized


at between two and 15 days after catheter placement, and tissue samples were collected for bacteriology and histopathology.

Results: Pigs inoculated with 107 cfu/kg of S. aureus strain S54F9 developed clinical, echocardiographic and pathologic signs of IE. All other pigs, except one, developed NBTE. Serial blood cultures withdrawn after inoculation were positive in animals with IE, and negative in all other animals.

Conclusion: S. aureus endocarditis was successfully induced in pigs with an indwelling cardiac catheter after intravenous inoculation of 107 cfu/kg of S. aureus strain S54F9. The model simulates typical pathological, clinical and diagnostic features seen in the human disease. Furthermore, NBTE was induced in all but one of the pigs without IE. Thus, the pig model can be used in future studies of the pathogenesis, diagnosis and therapy of NBTE and S. aureus endocarditis.

The Journal of Heart Valve Disease 2013;22:368-376

Porcine Models of Non-Bacterial Thrombotic Endocarditis (NBTE) and Infective Endocarditis (IE) Caused by Staphylococcus aureus: A Preliminary Study

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