Objective: We previously showed enhanced engraftment of human T cells in the transgenic NonObese Diabetic/severe combined immunodeficient (NOD/scid)-DR1 mice, compared to NOD/scid mice. We now characterize their immunobiology, innate immunity, and intrahepatic neonatal engraftment of cord blood mononuclear cells (CBMNC), and test immune responses of these chimeric mice to an experimental cancer vaccine.
Methods: Fluorescence in situ hybridization analysis, blood biochemistry, hematology, and fluorescein-activated cell sorting analyses of cellular subsets were performed on NOD/scid-DR1 mice, in comparison to parental NOD/scid mice. Innate immunity and lifespan were examined. Histology of engrafted tissues and short-term intrahepatic engraftment of CBMNC were performed. Intracellular interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) production was assessed in mice immunized with cancer vaccine.
Results: The DR1 transgene was located on chromosome 5 and no significant changes were observed in blood chemistry, peripheral blood counts, lymphoid subsets, natural killer cell and lipopolysaccharide response, and antigen presentation in the NOD/scid-DR1 mice, compared to NOD/scid mice. Interestingly, NOD/scid-DR1 mice had a significantly longer lifespan (approximately 14 months) than NOD/scid mice (approximately 8.5 months). Engraftment with human cord blood cells resulted in slight changes in the architecture/structure of spleens. No correlation was found between DR1 genotype of the donor CBMNC and extent of engraftment of human T cells. Enhanced engraftment of human cells was observed with intrahepatic injections of CBMNC in neonatal NOD/scid DR1 mice. Intracellular IFN-gamma was detected in human cells, when chimeric mice were immunized with a cancer vaccine.
Conclusion: NOD/scid-DR1 mice were similar in most of the physiological parameters as the NOD/scid mice, with the exception of longer lifespan. Intrahepatic engraftment of neonatal mice is the preferred protocol of xenotransplantation in this model and the engrafted human cells can respond to a cancer vaccine.