- Academic Editors
Introduction: Blood infections from multi-drug-resistant Salmonella pose a major health burden. This is especially true because Salmonella can survive and replicate intracellularly, and the development of new treatment strategies is dependent on expensive and time-consuming in vivo trials. The aim of this study was to develop a Salmonella-infection model that makes it possible to directly observe Salmonella infections of macrophages in vivo and to use this model to test the effect of antimicrobials against intra- and extracellular Salmonella in order to close the gap between in vitro and rodent-infection models. Methods: We established suitable Salmonella-infection conditions using genetically engineered zebrafish and Salmonella-expressing fluorescent proteins (green fluorescent protein (GFP) and/or mCherry). Results: We detected Salmonella inside and outside zebrafish larvae macrophages. Administration of the cell-impermeable antibiotic tobramycin removed Salmonella residing outside macrophages but did not affect Salmonella in macrophages, whereas ceftriaxone successfully cleared both types of Salmonella. Salmonella inside and outside macrophages experienced substantial DNA damage after administration of fluoroquinolones consistent with the excellent cell penetration of these antibiotics. Conclusions: The zebrafish-larvae model enables testing of antimicrobials for efficacy against extra- and intracellular Salmonella in a complex in vivo environment. This model thus might serve for antimicrobial lead optimization prior to using rodent models.