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J Clin Invest. 1991 Aug;88(2):717-9.

Recapitulation of normal and abnormal BB rat immune system development in scid mouse/rat lymphohemopoietic chimeras.

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Department of Pathology, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington 06030.


Mice homozygous for the mutation "severe combined immune deficiency" (C.B17-scid/scid) lack functional T and B lymphocytes and readily accept tumor xenografts. Partial lymphohemopoietic scid/human and mouse/rat chimeras have been described, but complete chimerization with thymic engraftment and generation of donor-origin thymocytes has not been achieved. We now report that low-dose irradiation permits the engraftment of BB rat fetal liver stem cells in scid recipients. We observed that BB rat fetal liver cells injected into irradiated scid mice establish a rat hemopoietic system in the scid mouse bone marrow and populate the scid mouse thymus. These stem cells generated rat-origin thymocytes that migrated to the scid mouse spleen, a peripheral lymphoid organ. Finally, we found that xenogeneic chimeras created using fetal liver cells from the abnormal (lymphopenic, diabetes prone) subline of BB rats recapitulated both the quantitative and phenotypic abnormalities of the donor rat. Xenogeneic lymphohemopoietic chimeras established in scid mice may provide a powerful new tool in the study of immune system development and autoimmunity.

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