Mouse-human chimeras have become a novel way to model the interactions between microbial pathogens and human cells, tissues or organs. Diseases studied with human xenografts in severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) mice include Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection in cystic fibrosis, group A streptococci and impetigo, bacillary and amoebic dysentery, and AIDS. In many cases, disease in the human xenograft appears to accurately reproduce the disease in humans, providing a powerful model for identifying virulence factors, host responses to infection and the effects of specific interventions on disease. In this review, we summarize recent studies that have used mouse-human chimeras to understand the pathophysiology of specific bacterial and protozoan infections.
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