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Open Access The Petit Rat (pet/pet), a New Semilethal Mutant Dwarf Rat with Thymic and Testicular Anomalies

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The petit rat (pet/pet) is a recently discovered semilethal mutant dwarf. The neonatal pet/pet rats had a low body weight and small thymus and testis. During the first 3 d after birth, 50% of the male and 80% of the female pet/pet pups were lost or found dead. Surviving pet/pet rats showed marked retardation of postnatal growth, and their body weights were 41% (female rats) and 32% (male rats) of those of normal rats at the adult stage. The pet/pet rats exhibited proportional dwarfism, and their longitudinal bones were shorter than those of controls without skeletal malformations. Most organs of male pet/pet rats, especially the thymus, testis, adipose tissue surrounding the kidney, and accessory sex organs, weighed markedly less at 140 d of age than did those of their normal counterparts. The thymus of pet/pet rats was small with abnormal thymic follicles. Testes from pet/pet rats exhibited 2 patterns of abnormal histology. Spermatogenesis was present in testes that were only slightly anomalous, but the seminiferous tubules were reduced in diameter. In severely affected testes, most of the seminiferous tubules showed degeneration, and interstitial tissue was increased. Plasma growth hormone concentrations did not differ between pet/pet and normal male rats. The dwarf phenotype of pet/pet rats was inherited as an autosomal recessive trait. These results indicate that the pet/pet rat has a semilethal growth-hormone-independent dwarf phenotype that is accompanied by thymic and testicular anomalies and low birth weight.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Laboratory of Veterinary Physiology, Nippon Veterinary and Life Science University, Tokyo, Japan

Publication date: December 1, 2008

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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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