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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 136  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 683-684

Mouse as a model organism - From animals to cells

National Institute of Nutrition (ICMR), Hyderabad 500 007, India

Date of Web Publication8-Nov-2012

Correspondence Address:
N V Giridharan
National Institute of Nutrition (ICMR), Hyderabad 500 007
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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How to cite this article:
Giridharan N V. Mouse as a model organism - From animals to cells. Indian J Med Res 2012;136:683-4

How to cite this URL:
Giridharan N V. Mouse as a model organism - From animals to cells. Indian J Med Res [serial online] 2012 [cited 2020 Feb 19];136:683-4. Available from:

Mouse as a model organism - From animals to cells, C. Brakebusch, T. Pihlajaniemi, editors (Springer, London) 2011. 165 pages. Price: not mentioned

ISBN 978-94-007-0749-8

Laboratory mouse and rat contribute to 90 per cent of biomedical research worldover; especially the mouse Mus musculus has a premiere role in cancer and toxicological research. Way back in 1900, WE Castle studied genetics of mice coat colour and the first inbred mouse strain was established by Clearance Cook Little in 1909. The Jackson Laboratories, US, subsequently went on to commercially establish over 1750 mouse inbred strains, and companies like Charles River and Harlem in Europe followed suite. The veritable tiny mouse has moved a long way since then, and in 2002, its genome was wide open - the first laboratory animal to be explored thus.

The book under review, gives readers a panoramic view of the role of mouse in answering complex biological questions in the post genomic era. The book is a compendium of papers presented at a symposium held in Rovanicmi, Finland in 2009 and the theme of the symposium was the same as the title of the book. The conference had an amalgam of hard core molecular biologists, laboratory animal specialists and cell culture experts and the result is in the form of a book taking the readers to the world of mice at one end of spectrum to the world of cell cultures at the other end.

The book has nine chapters. The first four chapters cover general aspects of generation and phenotyping of genetically modified mice, including the use of genomic insulators in transgenic constructs, the running of mouse clinics for high throughput phenotyping, the effects of genetic background and environment on the phenotype of mutant mice and the requirement for a phenotyping data base. The chapters which follow this illustrate the use of mice as disease models, and as a source for primary cells for cancer research. This covers an overview of mice cancer models and ex vivo and in vitro models for angiogenesis followed by review on cancer associated fibroblasts and in vitro invasion assays. The final chapter provides fundamental insights in to the processes that govern indolent tumours - micrometastases and occult primary tumours taking breast cancer as an example which represents a new paradigm for translational cancer research.

Chapter 5 contain useful practical information for persons engaged in cancer research using mouse as a model system. Experimental tumour modeling in mice provides means for observing tumour development, identifying target molecule and pathways and designing and testing novel strategies for treating cancer in a manner that is not possible in in vitro or in humans. To gain maximum benefit from the mouse tumour model system, one should be aware of possibilities and limitations of each approach and thus should pay careful attention to selection of the model and planning of experiments based on the information. Chapter 5 gives a through grounding to the reader with respect to experimental tumour models that are evolved from simple chemical treatments to extremely complex genetic models and their merits and demerits. It gives species-specific differences between mice and humans and also between various mouse inbred strains that have a bearing on tumourogenesis. Additionally, the latest approach of targeted inactivation of tumour suppressor genes (p53 and Rb) and the conditional mutagenesis which allows spatio-temporal mutations in mouse genome by Cre-Lox or yeast derived FLP-FRT systems give the readers an insight in to the ways the cancer research is progressing currently.

While chapter 5 dwelt on the various tumour models, chapter 6 concentrated on the process of angiogenesis which is associated with cancer progression and dissemination by illustrating the various knock-in and knock-out models that targeted the various components of extracellular matrix (ECM). The review presents the most relevant in vitro and in vivo models applicable in mice that have proven their usefulness in exploring angiogenic processes. These include aortic ring assay, matrigel assay, and transplantation chamber assay and also describe three transgenic mouse models which can be used to study angiogenic switches like Rip-Tag2, keratin-14 HPV16 and MMTV Pg My mice. The last chapter discusses a mouse model that tells us about the mechanisms that can instigate a dormant tumour into an overt malignant one. This reads like an crime investigating report that give details about converting an indolent tumour to a virulent one by instigating it with an active breast cancer cell line.

While all the chapters blend well with the theme of the book, one may find chapters 7 and 8 dealing with fibroblasts out of sync with the rest. Except for the fact the mice tissues have contributed to the development of cancer bearing fibroblasts, these chapters do not hold the interest of active workers who work with the whole animals. The book has an attractive and eye catching design on the outer cover and should please connoisseurs of mouse model users. Overall, the book gives a good introduction to the possible way of exploiting the mouse system to explore the molecular pathways underlying human diseases, especially cancer. The concept of 'mouse clinics' and the high throughput phenotyping of mouse mutants (which are initiated in US, Europe and Japan) described in the books will be watched with bated breath by all investigators of biomedical research, as these are the signposts of things to come in future.


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