Research press release





今回、David Masopustたちは、実験用マウスが飼育される無菌環境が免疫系の構成と感染症に対する免疫系の応答に及ぼす影響を調べた。まず、従来の実験用マウスが有するCD8+ T細胞の数が、閉経前の成人女性より有意に少ないことが分かった。次に、Masopustたちは、自由生活する野生のマウスと営利目的のペットショップのマウスにおけるCD8+ T細胞の数を調べ、この違いが実験用マウスに特有なものであることを確認した。極度に衛生的な条件下で飼育されていないペットショップのマウスと実験用マウスを混ぜて飼育したところ、実験用マウスの免疫細胞系譜が大きく変化して、ヒトの成人の免疫特性に似るようになった。ペットショップのマウスと混在飼育されたマウスは、細菌感染に対する応答が実験用マウスの10,000倍以上改善し、細菌感染に対するワクチンを接種していた実験用マウスの対照群の応答と一致していた。


The immune systems of laboratory mice - the dominant animal model used in biomedical research - are more similar to the immature immune systems of newborn humans than to those of human adults, reports a paper published in Nature this week. Housing lab mice, which live in abnormally hygienic environments, with ‘dirty’ mice from pet stores could help to create an improved mouse model for translating research of many different diseases, the study suggests.

Studies in mice have provided important information about the role of the immune system in health and disease by enabling experimental techniques that are not technically or ethically possible in humans. Many therapies developed in mice, however, are unsuccessful in humans.

David Masopust and colleagues investigated the effect of the pathogen-free environment in which lab mice are housed on the composition of the immune system and its response to infection. They first found significantly fewer CD8+ T cells in traditional lab mice compared to premenopausal adult women. The authors then looked at the populations of these cells in free-living feral mice and mice from commercial pet stores and confirm that these differences are unique to lab mice. Co-housing pet store mice, which are not raised in extreme hygienic conditions, with the lab mice led to extensive changes in the immune cell lineages of the lab mice such that they came to resemble the immune signatures of adult humans. Compared to lab mice, pet store and co-housed mice had a more than 10,000-fold improved response to a bacterial infection, which matched the response of control lab mice that were previously vaccinated against the infection.

The authors explain that their study does not advocate the end of studies with lab mice. Instead, they argue that supplementing current mouse models with ‘dirty’ mice, such as feral animals or those from pet stores, has the potential to improve the translation of findings from mice to humans.

doi: 10.1038/nature17655

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