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Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research
On-line version ISSN 1414-431X
ADAN, C.B.D. et al. An experimental model of mycobacterial infection under corneal flaps. Braz J Med Biol Res [online]. 2004, vol.37, n.7, pp. 1015-1021. ISSN 1414-431X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0100-879X2004000700010.
In order to develop a new experimental animal model of infection with Mycobacterium chelonae in keratomileusis, we conducted a double-blind prospective study on 24 adult male New Zealand rabbits. One eye of each rabbit was submitted to automatic lamellar keratotomy with the automatic corneal shaper under general anesthesia. Eyes were immunosuppressed by a single local injection of methyl prednisolone. Twelve animals were inoculated into the keratomileusis interface with 1 µl of 106 heat-inactivated bacteria (heat-inactivated inoculum controls) and 12 with 1 µl of 106 live bacteria. Trimethoprim drops (0.1%, w/v) were used as prophylaxis for the surgical procedure every 4 h (50 µl, qid). Animals were examined by 2 observers under a slit lamp on the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 11th, 16th, and 23rd postoperative days. Slit lamp photographs were taken to document clinical signs. Animals were sacrificed when corneal disease was detected and corneal samples were taken for microbiological analysis. Eleven of 12 experimental rabbits developed corneal disease, and M. chelonae could be isolated from nine rabbits. Eleven of the 12 controls receiving a heat-inactivated inoculum did not develop corneal disease. M. chelonae was not isolated from any of the control rabbits receiving a heat-inactivated inoculum, or from the healthy cornea of control rabbits. Corneal infection by M. chelonae was successfully induced in rabbits submitted to keratomileusis. To our knowledge, this is the first animal model of M. chelonae infection following corneal flaps for refractive surgery to be described in the literature and can be used for the analysis of therapeutic responses.
Keywords : Infectious eye diseases; Keratitis; Animal model; Mycobacterium chelonae; Lamellar keratotomy.