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Anat Rec. 2001 May 1;263(1):62-71.

Cardiopulmonary malformations in the inv/inv mouse.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy, Cardiovascular Developmental Biology Center, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, USA.


The inv/inv mouse carries an insertional mutation in the inversin gene, (inv, for inversion of embryonic turning). Previously it had been reported that almost 100% of the homozygous offspring (inv/inv) were characterized by situs inversus totalis. In this report we identify the spectrum of cardiopulmonary anatomical abnormalities in inv/inv mice surviving to birth to determine whether the abnormalities seen are of the categories classically associated with human situs abnormalities. Stillborn mice, offspring that died unexpectedly (within 48 hr after birth), and neonates with phenotypic characteristics of situs inversus (right-sided stomachs, growth failure or jaundice) were processed for standard histological examination. Of 173 offspring, 34 (20%) neonates (11 stillborn, 9 unexpected deaths, and 14 mice with situs inversus phenotype) were examined, 27 of which were genotyped to be inv/inv. Interestingly, three inv/inv mice (11%) were found to have situs solitus. Twenty-four had situs inversus with normal, mirror-image cardiac anatomy (dextrocardia with atrioventricular concordance, ventriculoarterial concordance and a right aortic arch). The overall incidence of cardiovascular anomalies observed was 10 out of 27 (37%). The most frequent severe malformation, identified in 3 out of 27 animals, was a complex consisting of pulmonary infundibular stenosis/atresia with absence of pulmonary valve tissue and a ventricular septal defect. The pulmonary phenotype in inv/inv mice was situs inversus with occasional minor lobar abnormalities. We conclude that 1) cardiopulmonary malformations in inv/inv mice are not rare (37%), 2) the cardiopulmonary malformations observed in inv/inv specimens are not of the spectrum typically associated with human heterotaxia. In particular, inv/inv mice have a propensity for defects in the development of the right ventricular outflow tract and the interventricular septum, and 3) approximately one out of ten inv/inv mice is born with situs solitus and shows cardiac anomalies that correspond to those observed in inv/inv specimens with situs inversus. Our data therefore suggest that inversin, the product of the inv locus, may have specific roles in cardiac morphogenesis independent of its role in situs determination.

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