A novel model to study neonatal Escherichia coli sepsis and the effect of treatment on the human immune system using humanized mice

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Neonatal sepsis is a serious threat especially for preterm infants. As existing in vitro and in vivo models have limitations, we generated a novel neonatal sepsis model using humanized mice and tested the effect of Betamethasone and Indomethacin which are used in the clinic in case of premature birth.

Method of study

Humanized mice were infected with Escherichia coli (E. coli). Subsequently, the effect of the infection itself, and treatment with Betamethasone and Indomethacin on survival, recovery, bacterial burden, leukocyte populations, and cytokine production, was analyzed.


The human immune system in the animals responded with leukocyte trafficking to the site of infection and granulopoiesis in the bone marrow. Treatment with Indomethacin had no pronounced effect on the immune system or bacterial burden. Betamethasone induced a decline of splenocytes.


The human immune system in humanized mice responds to the infection, making them a suitable model to study neonatal E. coli sepsis and the immune response of the neonatal immune system. Treatment with Betamethasone could have potential negative long-term effects for the immune system of the child.

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