A Mouse Model to Assess Innate Immune Response to Staphylococcus aureus Infection

Leif S. Anderson, Mack B. Reynolds, Kathryn R. Rivara, Lloyd S. Miller, Scott I. Simon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) infections, including methicillin resistant stains, are an enormous burden on the healthcare system. With incidence rates of S. aureus infection climbing annually, there is a demand for additional research in its pathogenicity. Animal models of infectious disease advance our understanding of the host-pathogen response and lead to the development of effective therapeutics. Neutrophils play a primary role in the innate immune response that controls S. aureus infections by forming an abscess to wall off the infection and facilitate bacterial clearance; the number of neutrophils that infiltrate an S. aureus skin infection often correlates with disease outcome. LysM-EGFP mice, which possess the enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) inserted in the Lysozyme M (LysM) promoter region (expressed primarily by neutrophils), when used in conjunction with in vivo whole animal fluorescence imaging (FLI) provide a means of quantifying neutrophil emigration noninvasively and longitudinally into wounded skin. When combined with a bioluminescent S. aureus strain and sequential in vivo whole animal bioluminescent imaging (BLI), it is possible to longitudinally monitor both the neutrophil recruitment dynamics and in vivo bacterial burden at the site of infection in anesthetized mice from onset of infection to resolution or death. Mice are more resistant to a number of virulence factors produced by S. aureus that facilitate effective colonization and infection in humans. Immunodeficient mice provide a more sensitive animal model to examine persistent S. aureus infections and the ability of therapeutics to boost innate immune responses. Herein, we characterize responses in LysM-EGFP mice that have been bred to MyD88-deficient mice (LysM-EGFP×MyD88-/- mice) along with wild-type LysM-EGFP mice to investigate S. aureus skin wound infection. Multispectral simultaneous detection enabled study of neutrophil recruitment dynamics by using in vivo FLI, bacterial burden by using in vivo BLI, and wound healing longitudinally and noninvasively over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere59015
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number144
StatePublished - Feb 2019


  • Immunology and Infection
  • Issue 144
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • inflammation
  • innate immunity
  • neutrophils
  • whole-animal imaging
  • wound healing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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