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Development of a porcine model of cystic fibrosis.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute 500 EMRB, Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine University of Iowa Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.


Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a common autosomal recessive disease that affects multiple organs. The lack of an animal model with manifestations like those typically found in humans has slowed understanding of its pathogenesis. Therefore, because of the similarities between human and swine anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, size, and genetics, we chose to develop a porcine model of CF. We used homologous recombination in primary cultures of porcine fibroblasts to disrupt the CFTR gene and then used those cells as nuclear donors for somatic cell nuclear transfer. After crossing heterozygous pigs, we produced CFTR-/- pigs. The newborn CFTR null piglets manifested meconium ileus, pancreatic destruction, early focal biliary cirrhosis, and gall bladder abnormalities that were very similar to those observed in humans with CF. At birth, there were no abnormalities in the airway epithelium or submucosal glands and no evidence of inflammation, consistent with findings in the newborn human. We hope that this porcine model will help elucidate the pathogenesis of CF and thereby lead to the development of new mechanism-based therapies.

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