Humanized mice for immune system investigation: progress, promise and challenges

Nat Rev Immunol. 2012 Nov;12(11):786-98. doi: 10.1038/nri3311. Epub 2012 Oct 12.


Significant advances in our understanding of the in vivo functions of human cells and tissues and the human immune system have resulted from the development of 'humanized' mouse strains that are based on severely immunodeficient mice with mutations in the interleukin-2 receptor common γ-chain locus. These mouse strains support the engraftment of a functional human immune system and permit detailed analyses of human immune biology, development and functions. In this Review, we discuss recent advances in the development and utilization of humanized mice, the lessons learnt, the remaining challenges and the promise of using humanized mice for the in vivo study of human immunology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation
  • Humans
  • Immune System / physiology*
  • Interleukin Receptor Common gamma Subunit / genetics*
  • Mice
  • Mice, SCID* / genetics
  • Mice, SCID* / immunology
  • Mice, Transgenic


  • Il2rg protein, mouse
  • Interleukin Receptor Common gamma Subunit