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Methods. 2000 Jun;21(2):179-83.

Role of the pleiotropic effects of plasminogen deficiency in infection experiments with plasminogen-deficient mice.

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Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, 55 Lake Avenue North, Worcester, Massachusetts 01520, USA.


Plasminogen-deficient mice hold great promise as tools for analyzing the contribution of plasminogen activators produced by infectious agents to pathogenesis. However, the pathology caused by congenital plasminogen deficiency complicates the interpretation of infection experiments conducted with these animals. This pathology, the most prominent features of which are poor weight gain, wasting after about 60 days of age, and shortened lifespan, results from the inability of the mice to clear small fibrin thrombi. This article describes strategies for distinguishing the contribution of this pathology from the direct effects of depriving infectious agents of plasminogen. These strategies depend on the use of mouse genotypes in which the correlation of plasminogen deficiency with fibrin-dependent pathology is broken. Mice with plasminogen activator deficiencies are unable to generate plasmin and develop pathologies identical to those seen in plasminogen-deficient mice. However, unlike plasminogen-deficient mice, they do make plasminogen available to the infectious agent. Fibrinogen-deficient mice also deficient for plasminogen do not develop the pathology typical of plasminogen deficiency. These mice allow examination of plasminogen deficiency in the absence of fibrin-dependent pathology. Use of fibrinogen-deficient mice is complicated by the possibility that fibrin may be the key substrate of plasmin generated by the infectious agent.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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