Pax1/E2a Double-Mutant Mice Develop Non-Lethal Neural Tube Defects that Resemble Human Malformations
SourceTransgenic Research, 14, 6, (2005), pp. 983-987
Article / Letter to editor
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Many mouse models exist for neural tube defects (NTDs), but only few of them are relevant for human patients that are born alive with spina bifida aperta. NTDs in humans show a complex inheritance, which most likely result from the involvement of a variety of predisposing genetic and environmental factors. Hints toward the identity of predisposing genetic factors for human NTDs could come from mouse studies on the development of the neural tube and spinal cord, as well as from studies on associated features of this type of diseases. Among such features is the observation that pregnancies affected by a neural tube defect frequently show changes in thymus morphology, and in both neonatal and maternal T-cell repertoire. The genes for E2a and Pax1 have both been implicated in not only paraxial mesodermal development, but also in that of the immune system. Moreover, Pax1 mutant mice have been shown to display NTDs in digenic mouse models. In the present study we have investigated the phenotype of E2a null mutant mice that are also heterozygous for the so-called undulated mutation in Pax1. Here we report that such double-mutant mice develop a non-lethal NTD that strongly resembles the classic human NTD: spina bifida aperta, associated with defects of the axial skeleton, immune system and urinary tract.
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