Rabbit Models for Studying Human Infectious Diseases

Xuwen Peng, John A. Knouse, Krista M. Hernon

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Using an appropriate animal model is crucial for mimicking human disease conditions, and various facets including genetics, anatomy, and pathophysiology should be considered before selecting a model. Rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) are well known for their wide use in production of antibodies, eye research, atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases. However, a systematic description of the rabbit as primary experimental models for the study of various human infectious diseases is unavailable. This review focuses on the human infectious diseases for which rabbits are considered a classic or highly appropriate model, including AIDS (caused by HIV1), adult T-cell leukemia-lymphoma (human T-lymphotropic virus type 1), papilloma or carcinoma (human papillomavirus) , herpetic stromal keratitis (herpes simplex virus type 1), tuberculosis (Mycobacterium tuberculosis), and syphilis (Treponema pallidum). In addition, particular aspects of the husbandry and care of rabbits used in studies of human infectious diseases are described.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)499-507
Number of pages9
JournalComparative Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Veterinary


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