, Volume 22, Issue 7-8, pp 449-465
Date: 11 Jun 2011

Mouse models of diseases of megakaryocyte and platelet homeostasis

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Abstract

Platelets are the small anuclear blood cells that are the product of megakaryocytopoiesis, the process of hematopoietic stem cell commitment to megakaryocyte production and the differentiation and maturation of these cells for platelet release. Deregulation or disruption of megakaryocytopoiesis can result in platelet deficiencies, the thrombocytopenias, with attendant risk of hemorrhage or thrombocytosis, a pathological excess of platelet numbers. Mouse models, particularly those engineered to carry genetic alterations modeling mutations associated with human disease, have provided important insights into megakaryocytopoiesis and deregulation of this process in disease. This review focuses on mouse models of diseases of altered megakaryocyte and platelet number, illustrating the profound contribution of these models in validating suspected roles of disease-associated genetic alterations, promoting discovery of new links between genetic mutations and specific diseases, and providing unique tools for better understanding of disease pathophysiology and progression, as well as resources to define drug action or develop new therapeutic strategies.