Choosing a mouse model to study the molecular pathobiology of Alport glomerulonephritis

Cosgrove, D.; Kalluri, R.; Miner, J. H.; Segal, Y.; Borza, D.-B.
April 2007
Kidney International;Apr2007, Vol. 71 Issue 7, p615
Academic Journal
Alport syndrome, caused by mutations that interfere with the normal assembly of the α3α4α5(IV) collagen network in the glomerular basement membrane (GBM), is the most common inherited glomerular disease leading to renal failure. A detailed knowledge of the underlying pathogenic mechanisms is necessary for developing new, more specific, and effective therapeutic strategies aimed at delaying the onset and slowing disease progression. Studies of several dog and mouse models of Alport syndrome have significantly enhanced our understanding of the disease mechanisms and provided systems for testing potential therapies. In the most widely used Col4a3−/− mouse models of autosomal-recessive Alport syndrome (ARAS), the genetic background strongly affects renal survival. One contributing factor may be the strong ectopic deposition of α5α6(IV) collagen in the GBM of Col4a3-/- mice on the C57BL/6J background, which is almost undetectable on the 129/Sv background. This isoform ‘switch’ has not been observed in human ARAS, although it had been reported in the dog model of ARAS. In human patients as well as dog and mouse models of X-linked Alport syndrome, the α3–α6(IV) collagen chains are absent from the GBM. These biochemical differences among Alport animal models provide an opportunity to determine how the molecular makeup of the GBM affects the glomerular function. At the same time, potentially confounding influences of characteristics unique to a particular strain or model should be carefully considered in the design of studies aiming to define key events underlying the pathobiology of Alport glomerular disease.Kidney International (2007) 71, 615–618. doi:10.1038/sj.ki.5002115; published online 7 February 2007


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