Effects of Corynebacterium bovis on Engraftment of Patient-derived Chronic-Myelomonocytic Leukemia Cells in NSGS Mice

Comp Med. 2019 Aug 1;69(4):276-282. doi: 10.30802/AALAS-CM-18-000138. Epub 2019 Jul 26.


Modeling chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML) in immunodeficient NSGS mice relies on unique human CMML specimens and consistent murine engraftment. Only anecdotal comments have thus far supported the notion that research data may be altered by Corynebacterium bovis, an opportunistic cutaneous pathogen of immunodeficient mice. C. bovis disseminated by asymptomatic and clinically affected mice with hyperkeratotic dermatitis, resulting in resilient facility contamination and infectious recurrence. Herein we report that, compared with C. bovis PCR-negative counterparts, C. bovis PCR-positive NSGS mice developed periocular and facial hyperkeratosis and alopecia and had reduced metrics indicative of ineffective human CMML engraftment, including less thrombocytopenia, less splenomegaly, fewer CMML infiltrates in histopathologic sections of murine organs, and fewer human CD45+ cells in samples from murine spleen, bone marrow, and peripheral blood that were analyzed by flow cytometry. All CMML model metrics of engraftment were significantly reduced in the C. bovis PCR-positive cohort compared with the - negative cohort. In addition, a survey of comprehensive cancer center practices revealed that most murine facilities do not routinely test for C. bovis or broadly decontaminate the facility or its equipment after a C. bovis outbreak, thus increasing the likelihood of recurrence of invalidated studies. Our findings document that CMML engraftment of NSGS mice is diminished-and the integrity of murine research data jeopardized-by C. bovis infection of immunodeficient mice. In addition, our results indicate that C. bovis should be excluded from and not tolerated in murine facilities housing immunodeficient strains.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Corynebacterium / isolation & purification*
  • Corynebacterium / pathogenicity
  • Corynebacterium Infections / complications*
  • Corynebacterium Infections / diagnosis
  • Corynebacterium Infections / immunology
  • Equipment Contamination
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Myelomonocytic, Chronic / complications*
  • Leukemia, Myelomonocytic, Chronic / immunology
  • Mice
  • Opportunistic Infections / complications
  • Opportunistic Infections / diagnosis
  • Opportunistic Infections / immunology
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction

Supplementary concepts

  • Corynebacterium bovis