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      Mouse models with human immunity and their application in biomedical research


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          Biomedical research in human beings is largely restricted to in vitro studies that lack complexity of a living organism. To overcome this limitation, humanized mouse models are developed based on immunodeficient characteristics of severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) or recombination activating gene (Rag) null mice, which can accept xenografts. Peripheral constitution of human immunity in SCID or Rag null mice has been achieved by transplantation of mature human immune cells, foetal human thymus, bone marrow, liver tissues, lymph nodes or a combination of these, although efficiency needs to be improved. These mouse models with constituted human immunity (defined as humanized mice in the present text) have been widely used to investigate the basic principles of human immunobiology as well as complex pathomechanisms and potential therapies of human diseases. Here, elements of an ideal humanized mouse model are highlighted including genetic and non-genetic modification of recipient mice, transplantation strategies and proposals to improve engraftments. The applications of the humanized mice to study the development and response of human immune cells, human autoimmune diseases, virus infections, transplantation biology and tumour biology are reviewed as well.

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          Identification of a Novel Coronavirus in Patients with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome

          The severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) has recently been identified as a new clinical entity. SARS is thought to be caused by an unknown infectious agent. Clinical specimens from patients with SARS were searched for unknown viruses with the use of cell cultures and molecular techniques. A novel coronavirus was identified in patients with SARS. The virus was isolated in cell culture, and a sequence 300 nucleotides in length was obtained by a polymerase-chain-reaction (PCR)-based random-amplification procedure. Genetic characterization indicated that the virus is only distantly related to known coronaviruses (identical in 50 to 60 percent of the nucleotide sequence). On the basis of the obtained sequence, conventional and real-time PCR assays for specific and sensitive detection of the novel virus were established. Virus was detected in a variety of clinical specimens from patients with SARS but not in controls. High concentrations of viral RNA of up to 100 million molecules per milliliter were found in sputum. Viral RNA was also detected at extremely low concentrations in plasma during the acute phase and in feces during the late convalescent phase. Infected patients showed seroconversion on the Vero cells in which the virus was isolated. The novel coronavirus might have a role in causing SARS. Copyright 2003 Massachusetts Medical Society
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            Multiple defects in innate and adaptive immunologic function in NOD/LtSz-scid mice.

            The scid mutation was backcrossed ten generations onto the NOD/Lt strain background, resulting in an immunodeficient stock (NOD/LtSz-scid/scid) with multiple defects in adaptive as well as nonadaptive immunologic function. NOD/LtSz-scid/scid mice lack functional lymphoid cells and show little or no serum Ig with age. Although NOD/(Lt-)+/+ mice develop T cell-mediated autoimmune, insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, NOD/LtSz-scid/scid mice are both insulitis- and diabetes-free throughout life. However, because of a high incidence of thymic lymphomas, the mean lifespan of this congenic stock is only 8.5 mo under specific pathogen-free conditions. After i.v. injection of human CEM T-lymphoblastoid cells, splenic engraftment of these cells was fourfold greater in NOD/LtSz-scid/scid mice than in C.B17/Sz-scid/scid mice. Although C.B-17Sz-scid/scid mice exhibit robust NK cell activity, this activity is markedly reduced in both NOD/(Lt-)+/+ and NOD/LtSz-scid/scid mice. Presence of a functionally less mature macrophage population in NOD/LtSz-scid/scid vs C.B-17Sz-scid/scid mice is indicated by persistence in the former of the NOD/Lt strain-specific defect in LPS-stimulated IL-1 secretion by marrow-derived macrophages. Although C.B-17Sz-scid/scid and C57BL/6Sz-scid/scid mice have elevated serum hemolytic complement activity compared with their respective +/+ controls, both NOD/(LtSz-)+/+ and NOD/LtSz-scid/scid mice lack this activity. Age-dependent increases in serum Ig levels (> 1 micrograms/ml) were observed in only 2 of 30 NOD/LtSz-scid/scid mice vs 21 of 29 C.B-17/Sz-scid/scid animals. The multiple defects in innate and adaptive immunity unique to the NOD/LtSz-scid/scid mouse provide an excellent in vivo environment for reconstitution with human hematopoietic cells.
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              Defective IL7R expression in T(-)B(+)NK(+) severe combined immunodeficiency.

              Severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) is caused by multiple genetic defects. The most common form of SCID, X-linked SCID (XSCID), results from mutations in IL2RG (ref. 4), which encodes the common cytokine receptor gamma chain (gamma(c)) that is shared by the IL-2, IL-4, IL-7, IL-9 and IL-15 receptors. In XSCID and SCID resulting from mutations in JAK3, which encodes a Janus family tyrosine kinase that couples to gamma(c) and is required for gamma(c)-dependent signalling, T- and natural killer (NK)-cells are decreased but B-cell numbers are normal (T(-)B(+)NK(-)SCID). Some SCID patients lack T cells but retain NK cells. Given diminished T-cell development in Il7- or Il7r-deficient mice and that Il/7r-deficient mice have NK cells, we hypothesized that T(-)B(+)NK(+) SCID might result from defective IL-7 signalling, although apparent differences in the role of the IL-7/IL-7R pathway in humans and mice in T-cell and B-cell development have been suggested. We now demonstrate that defective IL7R expression causes T(-)B(+)NK(+) SCID, indicating that the T-cell, but not the NK-cell, defect in XSCID results from inactivation of IL-7Ralpha signalling.

                Author and article information

                J Cell Mol Med
                J. Cell. Mol. Med
                Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine
                John Wiley & Sons, Ltd (Chichester, UK )
                June 2009
                15 April 2008
                : 13
                : 6
                : 1043-1058
                [a ]Transplantation Biology Research Division, State Key Laboratory of Biomembrane and Membrane Biotechnology, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences Beijing, China
                [b ]China–U.S. Joint Research Center for Life Sciences Beijing, China
                [c ]Chinese Genomic Resources Center, Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences Beijing, China
                Author notes
                * Correspondence to: Yong ZHAO, M.D., Ph.D., Transplantation Biology Research Division, State Key Laboratory of Biomembrane and Membrane Biotechnology, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Datun Road, Beijing 100101, China. Tel.: (86) 10-64807302; Fax: (86) 10-64807313. E-mail: zhaoy@ 123456ioz.ac.cn
                © 2009 The Authors Journal compilation © 2009 Foundation for Cellular and Molecular Medicine/Blackwell Publishing Ltd
                : 14 January 2008
                : 09 April 2008

                Molecular medicine
                immunodeficient mice,human immune system,biomedicine,transplantation,animal model


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