Bioluminescent imaging of pneumococcal otitis media in chinchillas

Alan W. Johnson, James D Sidman, Jizhen Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objectives: Bioluminescent imaging has emerged as a powerful tool for monitoring the pathological process of infections in animals. The purpose of this study was to harness this new tool for objective assessment of acute otitis media (AOM) in animals with and without antibiotic interventions. Methods: Thirty-six healthy chinchillas, free of middle ear infections, were randomly divided into a control group and a group that received amoxicillin treatment. Bioluminescent Streptococcus pneumoniae (Xen 10) was injected into the epitympanic bullae of chinchillas (50 colony-forming units each) for induction of AOM. The infectious process of Xen 10 in the bullae of living animals with and without antibiotic interventions was monitored in real time with bioluminescence equipment. Results: A dynamic change of bioluminescent signals in the bullae of chinchillas from days 1 to 14 was observed after Xen 10 injection. Amoxicillin treatment reduced the bioluminescent signals in the bullae of chinchillas compared with controls. The AOM persisted for 14 days, and middle ear effusion for 6 weeks, in the control animals, whereas AOM lasted for 2 days, and effusion for 6 to 12 days, in the antibiotic-treated animals. Conclusions: Bioluminescent imaging provides an innovative method for assessment of the bacterial loads in the middle ear of chinchillas in a real-time manner and is very useful for objective evaluation of the efficacy of therapeutic interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)344-352
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
From the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of Minnesota School of Medicine, Minneapolis, Minnesota. This study was supported by the 5M Lions Research Fund and by National Institutes of Health grant R01 DC008165 and Supplement 00010055. This study was performed in accordance with the PHS Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, the NIH Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, and the Animal Welfare Act (7 U.S.C. et seq.); the animal use protocol was approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) of the University of Minnesota.


  • Acute Otitis Media
  • Antibiotics
  • Bioluminescence
  • Labyrinthitis


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