Development of a Nonhuman Primate Model for Trichomonas vaginalis Infection

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Objective:Trichomoniasis, caused by Trichomonas vaginalis, is a prevalent sexually transmitted infection associated with increased risk of HIV infection. An animal model of T. vaginalis infection would enable scientists to further investigate trichomoniasis.Study Design:Seven macaques (4 test vs. 3 control) were enrolled in a 2-week pilot study. Eight additional animals participated in a 2-arm (T. vaginalis vs. sham inoculated) crossover study lasting 5 weeks before treatment. In all, 12 Macaca nemestrina monkeys were challenged with a single intravaginal inoculation of 6.6 to 7.1 × 105 trichomonads (ATCC 50148). Vaginal culture (InPouch TV), colposcopy, microbiology, pH, and cervical cytokines were assessed at baseline, day 2, and weekly thereafter.Results:Ten of 12 challenged animals tested positive for trichomoniasis for 2 weeks or longer. One animal tested positive on days 2 and 7 but negative thereafter. Only one animal was not infected. Oral metronidazole treatment (35 mg/kg per day for 3 days) resolved infection in all animals. Trichomoniasis infection did not lead to shifts in vaginal microbiology or pH.Conclusions:A single T. vaginalis inoculation results in persistent infection in the pigtailed macaque.

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