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Open Access Mice Housed at Elevated Vivarium Temperatures Display Enhanced T-cell Response and Survival to Francisella tularensis

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The inability to translate findings from studies performed in mouse models to the corresponding human condition is well known, especially those involving infectious, atherosclerotic, and other inflammatory diseases. We hypothesize that mice fail to a mount robust or adequate immune response to infectious agents because of physiologic effects of cold stress due to housing temperatures below the mouse thermoneutral zone (TNZ). This hypothesis was tested by comparing the immune response to the Francisella tularensis live vaccine strain in mice housed at a typical vivarium temperature, which is below the TNZ, with that of mice housed at a temperature near their TNZ. Mice maintained at 28 °C displayed elevated antigen-specific T-cell responses compared with mice housed at 22 °C and survived intranasal challenge that was fatal to immunized mice at 22 °C. These results demonstrate that cold stress due to housing below the mouse TNZ results in a blunted immune response and may compromise their translational value a models for infectious diseases and vaccine development.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico;, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: December 1, 2017

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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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