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Volume 50, Number 1, February 2017

Galleria mellonella as an in vivo model for assessing the efficacy of antimicrobial agents against Enterobacter cloacae infection 

Hai-Fei Yang, Ai-Jun Pan, Li-Fen Hu, Yan-Yan Liu, Jun Cheng, Ying Ye, Jia-Bin Li


Corresponding author:

Jia-Bin Li, Corresponding author. Department of Infectious Disease, the First Affiliated Hospital of Anhui Medical University, Jixi Road Number 218, Hefei 230022, China. 


Background and purpose: 

Enterobacter cloacae is a well-recognized nosocomial pathogen. Use of a rapid, in vivo infection model for E. cloacae that can determine the efficacy of antibiotic therapies could help facilitate screening for new treatments. Nonmammalian model systems of infection, such as Galleria mellonella, have significant logistical and ethical advantages over mammalian models.




We utilized G. mellonella larvae to determine the utility of this infection model to study antibacterial efficacy. G. mellonella killing with heat-killed or live clinical isolates (E. cloacae GN1059 and GN0791) was tested. We also investigated the effect of postinoculation incubation temperature on the survival of infected larvae. The protection of administration of antibiotics to infected larvae was investigated. Finally, we determined the G. mellonella hemolymph burden of E. cloacae after administration of different antibiotics. 



With live bacterial inocula, G. mellonella killing was significantly dependent on the number of E. cloacae cells injected in a dose-dependent manner. Further, we observed that survival was reduced with increasing the postinoculation temperature. Treatment of a lethal E. cloacae infection with antibiotics that had in vitro activity significantly prolonged the survival of larvae compared with treatment with antibiotics to which the bacteria were resistant. The therapeutic benefit arising from administration of antibiotic correlated with a reduced burden of E. cloacae cells in the hemolymph. 



The G. mellonella infection model has the potential to be used to facilitate the in vivo study of host–pathogen interactions in E. cloacae and the efficacy of antibacterial agents. 


Key words:

antibacterial, antimicrobial, drug resistance, Enterobacter cloacae, insect infection model