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Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2010 Jul;43(1):55-63. doi: 10.1165/rcmb.2009-0118OC. Epub 2009 Aug 12.

Conditional deletion of dnaic1 in a murine model of primary ciliary dyskinesia causes chronic rhinosinusitis.

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  • 1The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, Cystic Fibrosis/Pulmonary Research and Treatment Center, CB# 7248, 6123A Thurston-Bowles Bldg., Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7248, USA.


Studies of primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) have been hampered by the lack of a suitable animal model because disruption of essential ciliary genes in mice results in a high incidence of lethal hydrocephalus. To develop a viable mouse model for long-term studies of PCD, we have generated a transgenic mouse line in which two conserved exons of the mouse intermediate dynein chain gene, Dnaic1, are flanked by loxP sites (Dnaic1(flox/flox)). Dnaic1 is the murine homolog of human DNAI1, which is mutated in approximately 10% of human PCD cases. These mice have been crossed with mice expressing a tamoxifen-inducible Cre recombinase (CreER). Treatment of adult Dnaic1(flox/flox)/CreER(+/-) mice with tamoxifen results in an almost complete deletion of Dnaic1 with no evidence of hydrocephalus. Treated animals have reduced levels of full-length Dnaic1 mRNA, and electron micrographs of cilia demonstrate a loss of outer dynein arm structures. In treated Dnaic1(flox/flox)/CreER(+/-) animals, mucociliary clearance (MCC) was reduced over time. After approximately 3 months, no MCC was observed in the nasopharynx, whereas in the trachea, MCC was observed for up to 6 months, likely reflecting a difference in the turnover of ciliated cells in these tissues. All treated animals developed severe rhinosinusitis, demonstrating the importance of MCC to the health of the upper airways. However, no evidence of lung disease was observed up to 11 months after Dnaic1 deletion, suggesting that other mechanisms are able to compensate for the lack of MCC in the lower airways of mice. This model will be useful for the study of the pathogenesis and treatment of PCD.

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