Second generation knockout sickle mice: The effect of HbF

Mary E. Fabry, Sandra M. Suzuka, Rona S. Weinberg, Christine Lawrence, Stephen M. Factor, John G. Gilman, Frank Costantini, Ronald L. Nagel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Sickle transgenic mice expressing exclusively human globins are desirable for studying pathophysiology and testing gene therapy strategies, but they must have significant pathology and show evidence of amelioration by antisickling hemoglobins. Mice were generated that expressed exclusively human sickle hemoglobin with 3 levels of HbF using their previously described sickle constructs (cointegrated human miniLCRα2 and miniLCRβs [PNAS 89:12150, 1992]), mouse α- and β-globin-knockouts, and 3 different human γ-transgenes. It was found that, at all 3 levels of HbF expression, these mice have balanced chain synthesis, nearly normal mean corpuscular hemoglobin, and, in some cases, F cells. Mice with the least adult HbF expression were the most severe. Progressive increase in HbF from less than 3% to 20% to 40% correlated with progressive increase in hematocrit (22% to 34% to 40%) and progressive decrease in reticulocyte count (from 60% to 30% to 13%). Urine concentrating ability was normalized at high HbF, and tissue damage detected by histopathology and organ weight were ameliorated by increased HbF. The γ-transgene that produces intermediate levels of HbF was introduced into knockout sickle mice described by Pàszty and coworkers that express the miniLCRα1GγA γδβs transgene and have fetal but not adult expression of HbF. It was found that the level of HbF required to ameliorate low hematocrit and normalize urine concentrating defect was different for the miniLCRα2βs and miniLCRα1GγA γδβs mice. We conclude that knockout mice with the miniLCRα2βs transgene and postnatal expression of HbF have sufficiently faithful sickle pathology to serve as a platform for testing antisickling interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)410-418
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - 15 Jan 2001


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