A rat model of diabetic wound infection for the evaluation of topical antimicrobial therapies

Comp Med. 2012 Feb;62(1):37-48.


Diabetes mellitus is an epidemic multisystemic chronic disease that frequently is complicated by complex wound infections. Innovative topical antimicrobial therapy agents are potentially useful for multimodal treatment of these infections. However, an appropriately standardized in vivo model is currently not available to facilitate the screening of these emerging products and their effect on wound healing. To develop such a model, we analyzed, tested, and modified published models of wound healing. We optimized various aspects of the model, including animal species, diabetes induction method, hair removal technique, splint and dressing methods, the control of unintentional bacterial infection, sampling methods for the evaluation of bacterial burden, and aspects of the microscopic and macroscopic assessment of wound healing, all while taking into consideration animal welfare and the '3Rs' principle. We thus developed a new wound infection model in rats that is optimized for testing topical antimicrobial therapy agents. This model accurately reproduces the pathophysiology of infected diabetic wound healing and includes the current standard treatment (that is, debridement). The numerous benefits of this model include the ready availability of necessary materials, simple techniques, high reproducibility, and practicality for experiments with large sample sizes. Furthermore, given its similarities to infected-wound healing and treatment in humans, our new model can serve as a valid alternative for applied research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Animals
  • Anti-Infective Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Diabetes Complications*
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Rats
  • Research Design*
  • Wound Infection / drug therapy*
  • Wound Infection / etiology
  • Wound Infection / physiopathology*


  • Anti-Infective Agents