Syrian hamsters as a small animal model for emerging infectious diseases: Advances in immunologic methods

Bryce M. Warner, David Safronetz, Gary P. Kobinger

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

21 Scopus citations


The use of small animal models for the study of infectious disease is critical for understanding disease progression and for developing prophylactic and therapeutic treatment options. For many diseases, Syrian golden hamsters have emerged as an ideal animal model due to their low cost, small size, ease of handling, and ability to accurately reflect disease progression in humans. Despite the increasing use and popularity of hamsters, there remains a lack of available reagents for studying hamster immune responses. Without suitable reagents for assessing immune responses, researchers are left to examine clinical signs and disease pathology. This becomes an issue for the development of vaccine and treatment options where characterizing the type of immune response generated is critical for understanding protection from disease. Despite the relative lack of reagents for use in hamsters, significant advances have been made recently with several hamster specific immunologic methods being developed. Here we discuss the progress of this development, with focus on classical methods used as well as more recent molecular methods. We outline what methods are currently available for use in hamsters and what is readily used as well as what limitations still exist and future perspectives of reagent and assay development for hamsters. This will provide valuable information to researchers who are deciding whether to use hamsters as an animal model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
PublisherSpringer New York LLC
Number of pages15
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
ISSN (Print)0065-2598
ISSN (Electronic)2214-8019


  • Animal models
  • Golden hamster
  • Immunological tools
  • Mesocricetus auratus
  • Molecular methods
  • Syrian golden hamster
  • Syrian hamster

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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