Studies of immune deficiencies have a history as long as that of immunology. However, reports of two key spontaneous recessive mutations in mice (nude in 1966–1968 and scid in 1983) laid the foundations for widespread application of immune-deficient rodents to a broad range of research topics. More recently, technologies modifying the mouse genome by transgenesis, gene ablation and crossbreeding for lines with multiple immune deficits have provided a large number of new types of immunologically impaired mice. The primary goals of this overview are to help non-immunologists understand key differences between some of the immunodeficient strains, develop an appreciation for the value of information derived from immunodeficient mouse-based research and to encourage expanded, creative use of these specialized research animals. Secondary goals are to promote greater awareness of unexpected outcomes that can arise when working with genetically immune-deficient mice, the need for vigilance in maintaining these research animals, and the care required in interpretation of the data that immune-deficient modeling provides. Two illustrations on developing appropriate immune deficient animal models for a new research application conclude the review.
Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.
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