Developing animal models for polymicrobial diseases

Nat Rev Microbiol. 2004 Jul;2(7):552-68. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro928.


Polymicrobial diseases involve two or more microorganisms that act synergistically, or in succession, to mediate complex disease processes. Although polymicrobial diseases in animals and humans can be caused by similar organisms, these diseases are often also caused by organisms from different kingdoms, genera, species, strains, substrains and even by phenotypic variants of a single species. Animal models are often required to understand the mechanisms of pathogenesis, and to develop therapies and prevention regimes. However, reproducing polymicrobial diseases of humans in animal hosts presents significant challenges.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Infections / complications*
  • Cattle
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Parasitic Diseases / complications*
  • Rats
  • Virus Diseases / complications*