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Immunodeficient Rabbit Models: History, Current Status and Future Perspectives

Song, Jun and Pallas, Brooke and Yang, Dongshan and Zhang, Jifeng and Agarwal, Yash and Chen, Y. Eugene and Bility, Moses and Xu, Jie (2020) Immunodeficient Rabbit Models: History, Current Status and Future Perspectives. Applied Sciences, 10 (20). p. 7369. ISSN 2076-3417

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Production of immunodeficient (ID) models in non-murine animal species had been extremely challenging until the advent of gene-editing tools: first zinc finger nuclease (ZFN), then transcription activator-like effector nuclease (TALEN), and most recently clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats-associated protein 9 (CRISPR)/Cas9. We and others used those gene-editing tools to develop ID rabbits carrying a loss of function mutation in essential immune genes, such as forkhead box protein N1 (FOXN1), recombination activating gene 1/2 (RAG1/2), and interleukin 2 receptor subunit gamma (IL2RG). Like their mouse counterparts, ID rabbits have profound defects in their immune system and are prone to bacterial and pneumocystis infections without prophylactic antibiotics. In addition to their use as preclinical models for primary immunodeficient diseases, ID rabbits are expected to contribute significantly to regenerative medicine and cancer research, where they serve as recipients for allo- and xeno-grafts, with notable advantages over mouse models, including a longer lifespan and a much larger body size. Here we provide a concise review of the history and current status of the development of ID rabbits, as well as future perspectives of this new member in the animal model family.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Song, Jun
Pallas, Brooke
Yang, Dongshan
Zhang, Jifeng
Agarwal, Yash
Chen, Y. Eugene
Bility, Mosesmtbility@pitt.edumtbility
Xu, Jie
Date: 21 October 2020
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: Applied Sciences
Volume: 10
Number: 20
Publisher: MDPI AG
Page Range: p. 7369
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.3390/app10207369
Schools and Programs: Graduate School of Public Health > Infectious Diseases and Microbiology
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: immunodeficient rabbits, gene editing, animal models
ISSN: 2076-3417
Official URL:
Funders: National Institutes of Health
Article Type: Review
Date Deposited: 25 May 2021 19:41
Last Modified: 25 May 2021 19:41


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