Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 21931877
PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2011 Sep;5(9):e1323
Here we engineered transgenic Leishmania infantum that express luciferase, the objectives being to more easily monitor in real time their establishment either in BALB/c mice–the liver and spleen being mainly studied-or in vitro. Whatever stationary phase L. infantum promastigotes population–wild type or engineered to express luciferase-the parasite burden was similar in the liver and the spleen at day 30 post the intravenous inoculation of BALB/c mice. Imaging of L. infantum hosting BALB/C mice provided sensitivity in the range of 20,000 to 40,000 amastigotes/mg tissue, two tissues-liver and spleen-being monitored. Once sampled and processed ex vivo for their luciferin-dependent bioluminescence the threshold sensitivity was shown to range from 1,000 to 6,000 amastigotes/mg tissue. This model further proved to be valuable for in vivo measurement of the efficiency of drugs such as miltefosine and may, therefore, additionally be used to evaluate vaccine-induced protection.