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Characterization of two rat models of cystic fibrosis—KO and F508del CFTR—Generated by Crispr‐Cas9

Abstract : Background: Genetically engineered animals are essential for gaining a proper understanding of the disease mechanisms of cystic fibrosis (CF). The rat is a relevant laboratory model for CF because of its zootechnical capacity, size, and airway characteristics, including the presence of submucosal glands. Methods: We describe the generation of a CF rat model (F508del) homozygous for the p.Phe508del mutation in the transmembrane conductance regulator (Cftr) gene. This model was compared to new Cftr -/- rats (CFTR KO). Target organs in CF were examined by histological staining of tissue sections and tooth enamel was quantified by micro-computed tomography. The activity of CFTR was evaluated by nasal potential difference (NPD) and short-circuit current measurements. The effect of VX-809 and VX-770 was analyzed on nasal epithelial primary cell cultures from F508del rats. Results: Both newborn F508del and Knock out (KO) animals developed intestinal obstruction that could be partly compensated by special diet combined with an osmotic laxative. The two rat models exhibited CF phenotypic anomalies such as vas deferens agenesis and tooth enamel defects. Histology of the intestine, pancreas, liver, and lungs was normal. Absence of CFTR function in KO rats was confirmed ex vivo by short-circuit current measurements on colon mucosae and in vivo by NPD, whereas residual CFTR activity was observed in F508del rats. Exposure of F508del CFTR nasal primary cultures to a combination of VX-809 and VX-770 improved CFTR-mediated Cl- transport. Conclusions: The F508del rats reproduce the phenotypes observed in CFTR KO animals and represent a novel resource to advance the development of CF therapeutics.
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Elise Dreano, Marc Bacchetta, Juliette Simonin, Louise Galmiche, Claire Usal, et al.. Characterization of two rat models of cystic fibrosis—KO and F508del CFTR—Generated by Crispr‐Cas9. Animal Model Exp Med / Animal models and experimental medicine., [Hoboken, New Jersey] : John Wiley & Sons, Inc., [2018]-, 2019, 2 (4), pp.297-311. ⟨10.1002/ame2.12091⟩. ⟨inserm-02458316⟩

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