The SCID/Beige mouse as a model to investigate protection against Yersinia pestis


*Corresponding author. Tel.: +44 (1980) 613000; Fax: +44 (1980) 613284.


In this study, we have shown that severe combined immunodeficient/beige mice reconstituted with hyperimmune Balb/c lymphocytes can be used as a model to demonstrate adoptive and passive protection against plague infection. Reconstitution of severe combined immunodeficient/beige mice was successful in nine out of ten mice as demonstrated by spleen colonisation and sustained circulating immunoglobulin titres. Furthermore, an increase in antibody titre was evident after a booster immunisation of reconstituted mice. Presence of circulating antibody correlated with protection against a systemic plague challenge and indicated that in reconstituted mice adoptive transfer of a functional immune system had occurred. The severe combined immunodeficient/beige mouse was also used to demonstrate passive protection against inhaled and systemic plague infection. The reconstituted severe combined immunodeficient/beige mouse model demonstrating protective immunity against plague will be further developed to identify the immune cell subsets responsible for this protection.