Model of experimental chronic osteomyelitis in rats

J. P. Rissing, T. B. Buxton, R. S. Weinstein, R. K. Shockley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


We describe here a Sprague-Dawley rat model for chronic osteomyelitis. Staphylococcus aureus and sodium morrhuate were implanted by either microdrilling or direct needle injection into the tibiae of rats. Of 107 rats, 87 (81%) developed osteomyelitis when a high-speed drill was used for implantation, and 27 (51%) of 53 rats developed osteomyelitis by direct needle inoculation (chi square = 9.81, P < 0.01). Demonstrated histopathological changes included the presence of resorption bays filled with osteoclasts. Quantitative microbiological monitoring of tibial count confirmed disease chronicity, yielding stable numbers of CFU (106.29+-0.27) of S. aureus over 70 days. Infected animals became anemic and lost weight. The erythrocyte sedimentation rates and leukocyte counts were not elevated. Roentgenograms provided the best correlation with the number of organisms in infected tibiae (r2 = 0.80). Rats with infected tibiae were treated with either oxacillin (120 mg/kg per day) or ceftriaxone (50 mg/kg per day). Treatment over 14 or 28 days reduced S. aureus counts in tibiae but did not reliably sterilize infected ones, suggesting that this model was resistant to prolonged antimicrobial therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)581-586
Number of pages6
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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