Mitochondrial genome (mtDNA) mutations and the resultant mitochondrial respiratory abnormalities are associated with a wide variety of disorders, such as mitochondrial diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, and cancer, as well as aging. Generation of model animals carrying mutant mtDNAs is important for understanding the pathophysiological mechanisms of the mtDNA-based diseases. We have succeeded in generating three kinds of mice with pathogenic mutant mtDNAs, named “mito-mice,” by the introduction of mitochondria carrying pathogenic mutant mtDNAs into mouse zygotes and mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells. In the case of mito-mice possessing the heteroplasmic state of wild-type mtDNA and pathogenic mtDNA with a large-scale deletion (ΔmtDNA, mito-miceΔ), a high load of ΔmtDNA induced mitochondrial respiration defects in various tissues, resulting in mitochondrial disease phenotypes, such as low body weight, lactic acidosis, ischemia, myopathy, heart block, deafness, male infertility, long-term memory defects, and renal failure. In this review, we summarize generation and clinical phenotypes of three types of mito-mice and we introduce several treatment trials for mitochondrial diseases using mito-miceΔ.
Serine protease inhibitor Kazal type 1 (SPINK1) was originally identified as a trypsin inhibitor by Kazal et al. in 1948. SPINK1 is strongly elevated in pancreatitis and the elevation correlates with the severity of disease. In 2000, mutations in the SPINK1 gene were shown to be associated with chronic pancreatitis. Since then, there have been many reports on association between mutations in the SPINK1 genes and patients with pancreatitis. In 1982, SPINK1 was shown to be identical to tumor associated trypsin inhibitor (TATI). In addition, sequence similarities were detected between human epidermal growth factor (EGF) and human SPINK1 in 1983. Actually, SPINK1 was shown to stimulate growth of several cell lines including cancer cells in 1985. Recent clinical studies showed that high levels of SPINK1 protein in serum or urine were associated with adverse outcome in various cancer types. However, there was little evidence that showed in vivo function of SPINK1. Surprisingly, mice deficient in Spink3 (a mouse homologue gene of human SPINK1) showed excessive autophagy, but not pancreatitis in the exocrine pancreas, leading to autophagic cell death. We also demonstrated that SPINK1 acts as a growth factor through EGFR signaling. These data indicate that the role of the SPINK1 is not just as a trypsin inhibitor, but also as a growth factor as well as a negative regulator of autophagy. In this review, we summarize the roles of SPINK1/Spink3 in pancreatic diseases based on the data obtained from analyses using mouse models.
The hypothesis that quinestrol exerts testicular damage via oxidative stress was investigated in male gerbils using a daily oral gavage of 3.5 mg/kg body weight for 2 weeks (the multidose-treated group) or 35 mg/kg body weight (the single-dose-treated group). The testicular histological morphology, antioxidant capacity and malondialdehyde (MDA) concentration in testicular tissue and plasma were assessed at 15, 30, and 60 days following treatment. The results showed that the activity of the antioxidant enzymes, including superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxide (GSH-Px), and total antioxidant capacity (T-AOC), at 15 days after treatment in testicular tissue decreased, which led to the MDA concentration increasing while at the same time germ cells were rarefied and showed an irregular distribution in seminiferous tubules of quinestrol-treated gerbils. At 30 days, the testicular weight and antioxidant capacity continued to decrease, while the MDA concentration continued to increase, and testicular histopathological changes were more pronounced. Single-dose and multidose drug treatment had a similar effect on the antioxidant enzymes and MDA, but testicular damage was relatively severe at 15 and 30 days after multidose treatment. By 60 days of treatment withdrawal, however, the above parameters recovered to control levels. The results show that quinestrol causes reversible damage to gerbil testes that might be caused by the oxidative stress and that multidose treatment has more effects on testicular damage compared with one-dose treatment.
To clarify the distribution of bone-marrow-derived cells in fractures treated by plate fixation, fracture models were created using the green fluorescent protein (GFP) chimeric mouse. We observed 2 types of fracture healing processes with different types of callus formation and cellular events by using Mouse Fix™, a device allowing plate fixation on the mouse femur, and differences in the distribution of bone-marrow-derived cells between the 2 types. The GFP chimeric mice were created by bone marrow transplantation. Fractures were created on the left femurs of mice and stabilized with either rigid (Group R) or flexible (Group F) plates to prepare undecalcified fresh-frozen sections. In Group F, a large external callus and a large intramedullary callus were formed mostly by endochondral ossification. The cells that made up the intramedullary callus and callus in the fracture gap were GFP positive, but most cells of the external callus were not. In Group R, bone union was achieved mostly without external callus formation, bone apposition occurred directly in the gap, and a small intramedullary callus was formed. As observed in Group F, this group had GFP-positive cells in the callus within the fracture gap and in the intramedullary calluses. The results of this study provided direct evidence of the distribution of bone-marrow-derived cells in the callus of fractures treated by plate fixation under different stability conditions.
Pasteurella pneumotropica is an opportunistic pathogen in rodents. Natural infection in immunodeficient animals suggests that immunodeficiency is a major factor in P. pneumotropica pathogenesis. To understand this process, we performed clinical, pathological and bacteriological studies of immunodeficient NOD/ShiJic-scid/Jcl and immunocompetent Crlj:CD1 (ICR) mice experimentally infected with P. pneumotropica ATCC 35149. From 14 days postinoculation, some of P. pneumotropica-infected NOD/ShiJic-scid/Jcl mice developed clinical signs of weight loss. Three of 10 P. pneumotropica-infected NOD/ShiJic-scid/Jcl mice developed clinical signs of depression, ruffled coat, and weight loss and died at 27, 34, and 59 days postinoculation. At 35 days postinoculation, almost all P. pneumotropica-infected NOD/ShiJic-scid/Jcl mice had lung abscesses. The bacteria were isolated from the upper and lower respiratory tracts, including the lungs, and blood. In contrast, P. pneumotropica-infected ICR mice exhibited no clinical signs or lesions. The bacteria were isolated from the upper, but not the lower respiratory tracts. We developed an animal model for understanding host interactions with P. pneumotropica.
Regulatory T cells (Treg) are CD4+ T lymphocytes with constitutive expression of CD25 and FOXP3, as well as the ability to modulate cellular immune responses. In this study, the phenotypic characteristics, function and feasibility of enrichment and expansion of canine Treg were examined. Canine peripheral blood mononuclear cells were isolated and enriched by labelling of CD25, and expansion of Treg was achieved by adding interleukin (IL)-2 for 1 week. Phenotypic and functional analyses of Treg were performed prior to and after expansion. Canine Treg could be phenotypically characterized by CD4, CD25, and FOXP3 expression. Isolation and enrichment of canine Treg is possible, but high purities are difficult to achieve without significant cell loss. Expansion of canine Treg was possible by adding IL-2 without other growth factors. Higher initial cell numbers seeded allow more substantial Treg expansion in vitro. Canine Treg have the potential to suppress proliferation of effector T cells (Teff). By adding expanded Treg, a higher capability for suppressing Teff could be shown in comparison with freshly isolated Treg. Enrichment and expansion of canine Treg is feasible, and canine Treg had similar characteristics to Treg from other species.
Ketamine is usually used for murine anesthesia in animal experiments with other anesthetics for its sedation and analgesic effects. However, ketamine was categorized as a narcotic drug in Japan on January 1, 2007. After this act came into effect, a narcotic handling license became necessary for using and possessing ketamine. Pentobarbital sodium, which is also used for laboratory animal experiments as Nembutal, is no longer being manufactured. For these reasons, other anesthetic agents that can be used without a license are needed. In this paper, we examined the use of anesthetics other than ketamine and pentobarbital sodium. A combination anesthetic (M/M/B: 0.3/4/5) was prepared with 0.3 mg/kg of medetomidine, 4.0 mg/kg of midazolam, and 5.0 mg/kg of butorphanol. The anesthetics were administered to male ICR mice by intraperitoneal injection. In order to assess anesthetic depth and duration, we stimulated the mice directly after loss of righting reflexes to recovery of these same reflexes and then recorded four parameters—a tail pinch reflex, a pedal withdrawal reflex in the forelimbs, a pedal withdrawal reflex in the hindlimbs, and corneal reflex. Each parameter was scored, and the anesthetic depth, expressed by the total score, was summed. The surgical anesthesia duration of M/M/B: 0.3/4/5 mg/kg was almost identical to the surgical anesthetic duration with a ketamine and xylazine mixture (80–8 mg/kg). These data suggested that mice can be anesthetized by M/M/B: 0.3/4/5 as an alternate to ketamine. We thus can recommend M/M/B: 0.3/4/5 for murine surgical anesthesia.
The contraceptive effects of quinestrol in Mongolian gerbils were examined. The results showed that body weight significantly increased after quinestrol treatment, except in the group that received the highest dose. The gonadosomatic index of ovaries decreased, whereas that of uteri increased, and uterine edema appeared after quinestrol treatment. Histological examination revealed that the ovaries had a lack of mature follicles and corpora lutea and that the myometrium and endometrium of the uteri became thin after quinestrol treatment. Persistent estrous appeared after quinestrol treatment, and time to persistent estrous shortened with increasing doses of quinestrol. Serum follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) levels decreased, whereas estradiol (E2) and progesterone (P4) levels increased after quinestrol treatment, and the effects were dose-dependent. During gestation, the serum E2 levels in the different treatment groups were not significantly different. During gestation in the control groups, the serum P4 levels from days 0 to 15 were higher than in the quinestrol-treated groups; however, they did not show significant differences from days 18 to 24. Doses of 0.1 to 2.7 μg/g quinestrol over 6 days completely inhibited fertility. Birth time was prolonged with increasing doses of quinestrol. The findings suggest that quinestrol has marked estrogenic effects in Mongolian gerbils and may inhibit follicle maturation and ovulation through lowered gonadotropin levels. Uterine edema and abnormal E2 and P4 levels during gestation are important causes of pregnancy failure in quinestrol-treated Mongolian gerbils. Quinestrol causes prolonged inhibition of fertility in Mongolian gerbils.
As basic probiotics studies, the glucose tolerance test (GTT), insulin tolerance test (ITT), and adipokine and hepatic enzyme activities were investigated in male C57BL/6JJcl (B6J) mice under germfree (GF) or specific pathogen free (SPF) conditions. GF B6J mice were reproduced by reproductive engineering and cesarean section using a vinyl isolators (GF group). Some GF group mice were transferred to other vinyl isolators under SPF conditions (SPF group). In addition, conventional B6J mice bred in an open room were defined as controls (Conv group). GTT, ITT, and the sampling of blood, liver, white adipose tissue, and pancreas were performed when these B6J mice were at the age of 8 weeks. As a result, the GF and SPF groups showed hyperglycemia, impaired glucose tolerance and insulin resistance when compared with the Conv group. The adipose tissues and plasma TNFα concentrations in the GF and SPF groups were enlarged and increased when compared with the Conv group. Hepatic enzyme activities associated with glucose uptake in the GF and SPF groups were higher than those in the Conv group. However, hepatic enzyme activities associated with gluconeogenesis in the GF and SPF groups were lower than those in the Conv group. We assumed that these results were reactions by the liver to recover from the impaired glucose tolerance and the insulin resistance caused by vinyl isolator breeding of the GF and SPF groups by control of glucose metabolism.
Hatano high (HAA)- and low (LAA)-avoidance rats were selected from Sprague-Dawley rats genetically on the basis of their active avoidance behavior in a shuttle-box test. The purpose of this study was to investigate stress-related alterations of hormones corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), arginine-vasopressin (AVP), prolactin, and adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) in the brain and blood during early avoidance acquisition using two lines of Hatano rats. In paraventricular nucleus (PVN) of the hypothalamus, the CRH levels in HAA rats were significantly increased after shuttle-box tasks compared with before the tasks, whereas the CRH levels in LAA rats significantly decreased after shuttle-box tasks compared with before the tasks. In the HAA rats, the CRH and AVP levels in the median eminence decreased after shuttle-box tasks, whereas there were no significant differences in the levels between before and after shuttle-box tasks in LAA rats. The plasma concentrations of ACTH were significantly higher in HAA rats than in LAA rats after shuttle-box tasks. These results show that the response of CRH-ACTH was higher in HAA rats than in LAA rats. This phenotype may be an important reason for the high avoidance rates of shuttle-box tasks in HAA rats. These endocrine differences in early avoidance acquisition may be involved in regulation of their avoidance responses in the shuttle-box task.