Experimental disease models for the assessment of meningococcal vaccines

Andrew Gorringe*, K. M. Reddin, Simon Funnell, L. Johansson, A. Rytkönen, A. B. Jonsson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Animal infection models are valuable for the development and preclinical assessment of meningococcal vaccines in the absence of clear in vitro correlates of protection for protein-based serogroup B vaccines. It is only in animal models that interactions of the organism with the innate, humoral and cellular immune systems can be assessed. However, humans are the only natural host for Neisseria meningitidis and there is no ideal disease model using laboratory animals that mimics the course of human disease. The two most widely used models are intraperitoneal (i.p.) infection of adult mice or infant rats. The mouse i.p. infection model requires an exogenous iron source (e.g. human transferrin) to obtain a lethal bacteraemic infection and can be used to assess both active and passive immunisation. The virulence of wild-type and knockout mutants can also be compared. i.p. infection of infant rats has been used to assess passive protection provided by sera raised against vaccine candidates or human vaccine sera. However, the duration of bacteraemia is short, mortality is low and active protection cannot be assessed. Recent developments using transgenic mice expressing human CD46 give hope that improved models will be developed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2214-2217
Number of pages4
Issue number17-18
Publication statusPublished - 18 Mar 2005


  • Infection model
  • Neisseria meningitidis
  • Vaccine assessment


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