Zebrafish embryo sensitivity test as in vivo platform to anti-Shiga toxin compound screening

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Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) pathotype secretes two types of AB5 cytotoxins (Stx1 and Stx2), responsible for complications such as hemorrhagic colitis (HC) and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) in infected patients, which could lead to sequels and death. Currently, there is no effective treatment against the cytotoxic effect of these toxins. However, in order to approve any therapy molecule, an animal experiment is required in order to evaluate the efficacy and safety of therapeutic approaches. The use of alternative small host models is growing among human infectious disease studies, particularly the vertebrate zebrafish model, since relevant results have been described for pathogen-host interaction. In this sense, the present work aimed to analyze the toxic effect of Shiga toxins in zebrafish embryo model in order to standardize this method in the future to be used as a fast, simple, and efficient methodology for the screening of therapeutic molecules. Herein, we demonstrated that the embryos were sensitive in a dose-dependent manner to both Stx toxins, with LD50 of 22 µg/mL for Stx1 and 33 µg/mL for Stx2, and the use of anti-Stx polyclonal antibody abolished the toxic effect. Therefore, this methodology can be a rapid alternative method for selecting promising compounds against Stx toxins, such as recombinant antibodies.
Melo BS, Fernandes BHV, Lopes-Ferreira M, Henrique C, Piazza RMF, Luz D. Zebrafish embryo sensitivity test as in vivo platform to anti-Shiga toxin compound screening. Braz. J. Microbiol.. 2020 May;51:1021-1027. doi:10.1007/s42770-020-00305-1.
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