Gonorrhea, an obligate human infection, is on the rise worldwide and gonococcal strains resistant to many antibiotics are emerging. Appropriate antimicrobial treatment and prevention, including effective vaccines, are urgently needed. To guide investigation, an experimental model of genital tract infection has been developed in female mice to study mechanisms by which Neisseria gonorrhoeae evades host-derived antimicrobial factors and to identify protective and immunosuppressive pathways. Refinements of the animal model have also improved its use as a surrogate host of human infection and accelerated the testing of novel therapeutic and prophylactic compounds against gonococcal infection. Reviewed herein are the (a) history of antibiotic usage and resistance against gonorrhea and the consequences of resistance mechanisms that may increase gonococcal fitness and therefore the potential for spread, (b) use of gonococcal infection in the animal model system to study mechanisms of pathogenesis and host defenses, and
Keywords: antibiotic resistance; gonorrhea; mouse models; vaccines.
(c) current status of vaccine development.