Landmarks in the Unnatural History of SCID-hu Mice

  • Bruno Péault
Part of the Medical Intelligence Unit book series (MIU.LANDES)


For many years biomedical research has sought to develop ethically acceptable techniques for studying living human tissues in which structure and function are preserved. Grafts into tolerant laboratory animals was an obvious possibility whose realization was, to a greater or lesser extent, achieved as appropriate hosts became available. Starting more than half a century ago, chicken embryos,1,2 golden hamsters,3 newborn rats4 and immunosuppressed mice5 received, and transiently accepted, transplants of human tissues. With the advent of congenitally athymic nude mice, a partially immunodeficient environment was provided that extended the period of graft survival and so allowed workers to study the development of easily growing solid human tumors and even, to some extent, of human fetal tissues, as reported in 1972 by Povlsen et al.6Important differences were observed in the ability of human fetal rudiments to grow in nude mice: whereas lung development was significant and reproducible, scarcely more than 50% of thymus grafts were accepted and their follow-up was only short-term and limited to histologic analysis. Although encouraging, these pioneering xenotransplantations of human hematopoietic tissues met with little enthusiasm, whereas the development of human pancreatic7 and nervous8 fetal tissues in nude rodents was later reported.


SCID Mouse Severe Combine Immunodeficiency Unnatural History Fetal Thymus Human Hematopoiesis 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1995

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  • Bruno Péault

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