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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2012 Jan 31;53(1):501-7. doi: 10.1167/iovs.11-8784.

Generation of an inbred miniature pig model of retinitis pigmentosa.

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  • 1Department of Animal Science, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, USA.



The Pro23His (P23H) rhodopsin (RHO) mutation underlies the most common form of human autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa (adRP). The objective of this investigation was to establish a transgenic miniature swine model of RP using the human P23H RHO gene.


Somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) was used to create transgenic miniature pigs that expressed the human P23H RHO mutation. From these experiments, six transgenic founders were identified whose retinal function was studied with full-field electroretinography (ffERG) from 3 months through 2 years. Progeny from one founder were generated and genotyped to determine transgene inheritance pattern. Retinal mRNA was isolated, and the ratio of P23H to wild-type pig RHO was measured.


A single transgene integration site was observed for five of the six founders. All founders had abnormal scotopic and photopic ffERGs after 3 months. The severity of the ffERG phenotype was grouped into moderately and severely affected groups. Offspring of one founder inherited the transgene as an autosomal dominant mutation. mRNA analyses demonstrated that approximately 80% of total RHO was mutant P23H.


Expression of the human RHO P23H transgene in the retina creates a miniature swine model with an inheritance pattern and retinal function that mimics adRP. This large-animal model can serve as a novel tool for the study of the pathogenesis and therapeutic intervention in the most common form of adRP.

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