Human keratoconus is a common corneal disease with non-inflammatory corneal ectasia, and a subset of this disease is heritable. In an effort to establish animal models for this disease, we discovered Japanese keratoconus (JKC) mice among Mishima molosinus (MSM) mice, an inbred strain of Japanese wild mice (Mus musculus molossinus). Typical phenotypic corneas of JKC mice are, like human keratoconus, conical in shape, although the corneas were often associated with a red punctum at the tip. In contrast to human keratoconus, histological examination revealed the inflammatory changes such as infiltration of capillaries and hematocytes in JKC mouse corneas. Although JKC mouse corneal change is probably secondary to keratitis and is a mouse-specific keratopathy, its pathogenesis may be relevant to that of human keratoconus. Linkage analysis mapped the responsible gene at the markers D13Mit21, D13Mit252, D13Mit279, and D13Mit39, which are located between 21.9 and 34.0 cm of the mouse Chr 13. Candidate genes in this region include genes for cathepsins, interleukin, and chemotaxin. Further study of JKC mice may shed light on pathogenesis of human keratoconus.
Mammalian Genome – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 1, 2002
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