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Postnatal lethality and cardiac anomalies in the Ts65Dn Down Syndrome mouse model

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The Ts65Dn mouse is a well-studied model for Down syndrome (DS). The presence of the translocation chromosome T1716 (referred to as T65Dn) produces a trisomic dosage imbalance for over 100 genes on the distal region of mouse Chromosome 16. This dosage imbalance, with more than half of the orthologs of human Chromosome 21 (Hsa21), causes several phenotypes in the trisomic mice that are reminiscent of DS. Careful examination of neonates in a newly established Ts65Dn colony indicated high rates of postnatal lethality. Although the transmission rate for the T65Dn chromosome has been previously reported as 20%–40%, genotyping of all progeny indicates transmission at birth is near the 50% expected with Mendelian transmission and survival. Remarkably, in litters with maternal care that allowed survival of some pups, postnatal lethality occurred primarily in pups that inherited the T65Dn marker chromosome. This selective loss within 48 h of birth reduced the transmission of the marker chromosome from 49% at birth to 34% at weaning. Gross morphologic examination revealed cardiovascular anomalies, i.e., right aortic arch accompanied by septal defects, in 8.3% of the trisomic newborn cadavers examined. This is an intriguing finding because the orthologs of the DiGeorge region of HSA22, which are posited to contribute to the aortic arch abnormalities seen in trisomy 16 mice, are not triplicated in Ts65Dn mice. These new observations suggest that the Ts65Dn mouse models DS not only in its previously described phenotypes but also with elevated postnatal lethality and congenital heart malformations that may contribute to mortality.

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This research was supported by funding from Franklin & Marshall College.

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Correspondence to Clara S. Moore.

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Moore, C.S. Postnatal lethality and cardiac anomalies in the Ts65Dn Down Syndrome mouse model. Mamm Genome 17, 1005–1012 (2006).

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