2017 年 58 巻 4 号 p. E131-E137
The development of effective drugs against fungal diseases involves performing infection experiments in animals to evaluate candidate therapeutic compounds. Cryptococcus neoformans is a pathogenic fungus that causes deep mycosis, resulting in respiratory illness and meningitis. Here we describe a silkworm system established to evaluate the safety and efficacy of therapeutic drugs against infection by Cryptococcus neoformans and the advantages of this system over other animal models. The silkworm assay system has two major advantages: 1) silkworms are less expensive to rear and their use is less problematic than that of mammals in terms of animal welfare, and 2) in vivo screenings for identifying candidate drugs can be easily performed using a large number of silkworms. The pharmacokinetics of compounds are consistent between silkworms and mammals. Moreover, the ED50 values of antibiotics are concordant between mammalian and silkworm infection models. Furthermore, the body size of silkworms makes them easy to handle in experimental procedures compared with other invertebrate infectious experimental systems, and accurate amounts of pathogens and chemicals can be injected fairly easily. These advantages of silkworms as a host animal make them useful for screening candidate drugs for cryptococcosis.