Drug Discov Ther. 2016;10(1):9-13. (DOI: 10.5582/ddt.2016.01015)

Usefulness of silkworm as a host animal for understanding pathogenicity of Cryptococcus neoformans.

Ishii M, Matsumoto Y, Sekimizu K


We propose Cryptococcus neoformans infection model using silkworm for understanding cryptococcosis and screening of therapeutically effective antibiotics. Silkworm is an insect whose rearing methods were established through a long history of the sericulture industry. Silkworm facilitates experiments using a large number of individuals because of low cost for rearing and few ethical problems caused by killing animals. Silkworm can be reared at 37˚C to perform infection experiments at same temperature to human body. Injection of accurate amounts of samples into hemolymph of silkworm by usual syringes is easy to be done since silkworm has an appropriate size to handle. Moreover two injection methods, injection into hemolymph and intestine, are distinguishable for silkworms. The former is correspondent to intravenous injection, and the latter is to oral administration in humans. Taking these advantages of silkworms as host animals, it is possible to evaluate the virulence factors in C. neoformans and the therapeutic efficacy of antifungal agents.

KEYWORDS: Cryptococcus neoformans, infectious disease, silkworm

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