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J Vis Exp. 2016 Jul 14;(113). doi: 10.3791/54136.

A Phenotyping Regimen for Genetically Modified Mice Used to Study Genes Implicated in Human Diseases of Aging.

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Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Yale University School of Medicine.
Department of Ophthalmology, Yale University School of Medicine.
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Yale University School of Medicine; Department of Ophthalmology, Yale University School of Medicine;


Age-related diseases are becoming increasingly prevalent and the burden continues to grow as our population ages. Effective treatments are necessary to lessen the impact of debilitating conditions but remain elusive in many cases. Only by understanding the causes and pathology of diseases associated with aging, can scientists begin to identify potential therapeutic targets and develop strategies for intervention. The most common age-related conditions are neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's disease and blindness. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in the elderly. Genome wide association studies have previously identified loci that are associated with increased susceptibility to this disease and identified two regions of interest: complement factor H (CFH) and the 10q26 locus, where the age-related maculopathy susceptibility 2 (ARMS2) and high-temperature requirement factor A1 (HtrA1) genes are located. CFH acts as a negative regulator of the alternative pathway (AP) of the complement system while HtrA1 is an extracellular serine protease. ARMS2 is located upstream of HtrA1 in the primate genome, although the gene is absent in mice. To study the effects of these genes, humanized knock-in mouse lines of Cfh and ARMS2, knockouts of Cfh, HtrA1, HtrA2, HtrA3 and HtrA4 as well as a conditional neural deletion of HtrA2 were generated. Of all the genetically engineered mice produced only mice lacking HtrA2, either systemically or in neural tissues, displayed clear phenotypes. In order to examine these mice thoroughly and systematically, an initial phenotyping schedule was established, consisting of a series of tests related to two main diseases of interest: AMD and Parkinson's. Genetically modified mice can be subjected to appropriate experiments to identify phenotypes that may be related to the associated diseases in humans. A phenotyping regimen with a mitochondrial focus is presented here alongside representative results from the tests of interest.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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