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Am J Pathol. 1995 Jan;146(1):264-75.

Transforming growth factor-beta 1 null mice. An animal model for inflammatory disorders.

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Molecular and Medical Genetics Section, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892.


Approximately 40% of transforming growth factor-beta 1 null (knockout) mice generated in our laboratory develop normally to term, but 60% die in utero. The animals appear normal during the first 2 weeks of life but develop a rapid wasting syndrome and die by 3 to 4 weeks of age. All of the knockout mice have a multifocal inflammatory disease in many tissues. The heart and lungs are most severely affected. Increased adhesion of leukocytes to the endothelium of pulmonary veins is the initial lesion seen at day 8 postnatally and is soon followed by perivascular cuffing as well as inflammatory infiltrates in lung parenchyma. The lesions in the heart begin as endocarditis and then progress to myocarditis and pericarditis. Within the lung, chronic inflammatory infiltrates consist of T and B lymphocytes, including plasma cells, whereas macrophages are the primary inflammatory cell type in the heart. Increased expression of major histocompatibility complex class I and II proteins is seen in pulmonary vascular endothelium as early as day 8. An immunoblastic response in mediastinal and mandibular lymph nodes and spleen is also seen. In the absence of any pathogens, this massive inflammatory disease, together with overexpression of major histocompatibility complex class I and II proteins and overproduction of immunoglobulins by lymphocytes, offers circumstantial evidence for an autoimmune etiology.

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