Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an immune-mediated condition driven by improper responses to intestinal microflora in the context of environmental and genetic background. GWAS in humans have identified many loci associated with IBD, but animal models are valuable for dissecting the underlying molecular mechanisms, characterizing environmental and genetic contributions and developing treatments. Mouse models rely on interventions such as chemical treatment or introduction of an infectious agent to induce disease. Here, we describe a new model for IBD in which the disease develops spontaneously in 20-week-old mice in the absence of known murine pathogens. The model is part of the Collaborative Cross and came to our attention due to a high incidence of rectal prolapse in an incompletely inbred line. Necropsies revealed a profound proliferative colitis with variable degrees of ulceration and vasculitis, splenomegaly and enlarged mesenteric lymph nodes with no discernible anomalies of other organ systems. Phenotypic characterization of the CC011/Unc mice with homozygosity ranging from 94.1 to 99.8 % suggested that the trait was fixed and acted recessively in crosses to the colitis-resistant C57BL/6J inbred strain. Using a QTL approach, we identified four loci, Ccc1, Ccc2, Ccc3 and Ccc4 on chromosomes 12, 14, 1 and 8 that collectively explain 27.7 % of the phenotypic variation. Surprisingly, we also found that minute levels of residual heterozygosity in CC011/Unc have significant impact on the phenotype. This work demonstrates the utility of the CC as a source of models of human disease that arises through new combinations of alleles at susceptibility loci.
Mammalian Genome – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 1, 2014
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