Filariae are vector-borne parasitic nematodes that are endemic worldwide, in tropical and subtropical regions. Important human filariae spp. include Onchocerca volvulus, Wuchereria bancrofti and Brugia spp., and Loa loa and Mansonella spp. causing onchocerciasis (river blindness), lymphatic filariasis (lymphedema and hydrocele), loiasis (eye worm), and mansonelliasis, respectively. It is estimated that over 1 billion individuals live in endemic regions where filarial diseases are a public health concern contributing to significant disability adjusted life years (DALYs). Thus, efforts to control and eliminate filarial diseases were already launched by the WHO in the 1970s, especially against lymphatic filariasis and onchocerciasis, and are mainly based on mass drug administration (MDA) of microfilaricidal drugs (ivermectin, diethylcarbamazine, albendazole) to filarial endemic areas accompanied with vector control strategies with the goal to reduce the transmission. With the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it was decided to eliminate transmission of onchocerciasis and stop lymphatic filariasis as a public health problem by 2030. It was also requested that novel drugs and treatment strategies be developed. Mouse models provide an important platform for anti-filarial drug research in a preclinical setting. This review presents an overview about the Litomosoides sigmodontis and Acanthocheilonema viteae filarial mouse models and their role in immunological research as well as preclinical studies about novel anti-filarial drugs and treatment strategies.
About The Expert
Marc P Hübner