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Open Access Spontaneous Exocrine Pancreas Hypoplasia in Specific Pathogen-free C3HeB/FeJ and 101/H Mouse Pups Causes Steatorrhea and Runting

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Under specific pathogen-free conditions, 1.3% to 1.8% of litters born in our inbred 101/H and C3HeB/FeJ mouse colonies had pups with steatorrhea and runting. Clinically affected male and female pups were first identified when they were from 14 to 25 d old. Unaffected littermates were healthy and were weaned successfully. Postmortem findings in 8 clinically affected mice included a small, poorly differentiated exocrine pancreas comprising cytokeratin-negative duct-like structures but lacking recognizable acinar cells with their normal carboxypeptidase B-positive zymogen granules. Endocrine pancreas islets were unremarkable and contained insulin-positive  cells and glucagon-positive α cells. There was mild inflammation of the hindgut but no evidence of intestinal pathogens or marked inflammation or necrosis of pancreas, either alone or as part of a multisystemic inflammatory condition. Sera from pups in 4 affected litters did not contain antibodies to reovirus 3, mouse coronavirus, rotavirus, or mouse adenovirus 2. Furthermore, 4 sets of parental mice and sentinel mice from the facility were negative for 13 viruses, bacteria, and parasites. C3HeB/FeJ and 101/H inbred strains may be genetically predisposed because the steatorrhea and runting was absent in 13 other mouse strains and subspecies bred in the specific pathogen-free facility. This condition resembles exocrine pancreas hypoplasia, but the inheritance is complex. A wider implication is that runting coupled with steatorrhea are phenotypic criteria to suspect pancreatic disease that could be used in the context of a mouse N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea-mutagenesis program to identify potential mutants with defects in pancreas development.

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Document Type: Miscellaneous

Publication date: 2007-04-01

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  • 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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