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Revista do Instituto de Medicina Tropical de São Paulo

On-line version ISSN 1678-9946

Rev. Inst. Med. trop. S. Paulo vol.37 no.4 São Paulo July/Aug. 1995 



The hamster cheek pouch: an immunologically privileged site suitable to the study of granulomatous infections


A bolsa jugal do hamster: um local imunologicamente privilegiado, apropriado para o estudo das ¡nfecções granulomatosas



M. S. P. de ArrudaI; M. R. MontenegroII

IUniversidade Estadual Paulista, Faculdade de Ciências, Departamento de Ciências Biológicas, Bauru, SP, Brazil
IIUniversidade Estadual Paulista, Faculdade de Medicina de Bolucatu, Departamento de Patologia, Botucatu, SP, Brazil

Correspondence to




The hamster check pouch is an invagination of oral mucosa, characterized histologically as skin-like. In this paper we describe anatomical, histological and embriological features of the pouch and coment on the pouch as an immunologically privileged site since it lacks lymphatic drainage and has few Langerhans cells. We present the review from literature and our observations after inoculation in the pouch of mycobacteriae (BCG, Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium leprae) and a fungus (Paracoccidioides brasiliensis). Lesions in the pouch were granulomatous but smaller and long lasting; even granulomatous, the reaction was inefficient to control the proliferation of agents compared with inoculation in other sites, except for BCG. Appearance of immunity was also delayed or absent and, when it was detected, a sharp decrease in number of agents in pouch lesions was observed. These observations make the pouch an interesting site for the study of the role of immune system in infeccious diseases and in granuloma formation.

Keywords: Hamster cheek pouch - development; Inflammatory reactions: Leprosy: Paracoccidioidomycosis: granuloma; Mycobacterium leprae.


A bolsa jugal do hamster (BJH) é uma invaginação da mucosa oral, caracterizada histologicamente como semelhante a pele. Nesse estudo nós descrevemos algumas de suas características anatômicas, histológicas e embriológicas e comentamos sobre sua propriedade como local imunologicamente privilegiado, considerando a ausência de drenagem linfática e o reduzido número de células de Langerhans. Apresentamos também os resultados obtidos quando da inoculação de micobacterias (BCG, Mycobacterium tuberculosis e Mycobacterium leprae) e do fungo Paracoccidioides brasiliensis na bolsa jugal. Comparada com as lesões provocadas em outras localizações e, à exceção do BCG, as lesões induzidas na bolsa são menores e de maior duração e, mesmo quando granulomatosas, incapazes de controlar a multiplicação do agente; nos casos em que houve o desenvolvimento da resposta imune, ele se fez tardiamente e foi acompanhado pela redução do número de parasitas nas lesões. Essas observações apontam a bolsa jugal do hamster como um local de escolha para o estudo sobre a participação da resposta imune no desenvolvimento e modulação das doenças infecciosas e dos granulomas.



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Correspondence to:
Maria Sueli Parreira de Arruda
Faculdade de Ciências, Departamento de Ciências Biológicas, UNESP
Av. Edmundo Coube, S/N
17033-360 Bauru, SP, BRASIL
FAX: 0142-304470, TELEX: 0142-312 Febu, TEL: 0142-302111

Recebido para publicação em 13/01/95
Aceito para publicação em 04/07/95

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