NOD/LtSz-Rag1null mice: an immunodeficient and radioresistant model for engraftment of human hematolymphoid cells, HIV infection, and adoptive transfer of NOD mouse diabetogenic T cells

L D Shultz, P A Lang, S W Christianson, B Gott, B Lyons, S Umeda, E Leiter, R Hesselton, E J Wagar, J H Leif, O Kollet, T Lapidot, D L Greiner
Journal of Immunology 2000 March 1, 164 (5): 2496-507
Development of a small animal model for the in vivo study of human immunity and infectious disease remains an important goal, particularly for investigations of HIV vaccine development. NOD/Lt mice homozygous for the severe combined immunodeficiency (Prkdcscid) mutation readily support engraftment with high levels of human hematolymphoid cells. However, NOD/LtSz-scid mice are highly radiosensitive, have short life spans, and a small number develop functional lymphocytes with age. To overcome these limitations, we have backcrossed the null allele of the recombination-activating gene (Rag1) for 10 generations onto the NOD/LtSz strain background. Mice deficient in RAG1 activity are unable to initiate V(D)J recombination in Ig and TCR genes and lack functional T and B lymphocytes. NOD/LtSz-Rag1null mice have an increased mean life span compared with NOD/LtSz-scid mice due to a later onset of lymphoma development, are radioresistant, and lack serum Ig throughout life. NOD/LtSz-Rag1null mice were devoid of mature T or B cells. Cytotoxic assays demonstrated low NK cell activity. NOD/LtSz-Rag1null mice supported high levels of engraftment with human lymphoid cells and human hemopoietic stem cells. The engrafted human T cells were readily infected with HIV. Finally, NOD/LtSz-Rag1null recipients of adoptively transferred spleen cells from diabetic NOD/Lt+/+ mice rapidly developed diabetes. These data demonstrate the advantages of NOD/LtSz-Rag1null mice as a radiation and lymphoma-resistant model for long-term analyses of engrafted human hematolymphoid cells or diabetogenic NOD lymphoid cells.

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