The use of BLT humanized mice to investigate the immune reconstitution of the gastrointestinal tract

J Immunol Methods. 2014 Aug;410:28-33. doi: 10.1016/j.jim.2014.06.009. Epub 2014 Jun 18.


The gastrointestinal (GI) track represents an important battlefield where pathogens first try to gain entry into a host. It is also a universe where highly diverse and ever changing inhabitants co-exist in an exceptional equilibrium without parallel in any other organ system of the body. The gut as an organ has its own well-developed and fully functional immune organization that is similar and yet different in many important ways to the rest of the immune system. Both a compromised and an overactive immune system in the gut can have dire and severe consequences to human health. It has therefore been of great interest to develop animal models that recapitulate key aspects of the human condition to better understand the interplay of the host immune system with its friends and its foes. However, reconstitution of the GI tract in humanized mice has been difficult and highly variable in different systems. A better molecular understanding of the development of the gut immune system in mice has provided critical cues that have been recently used to develop novel humanized mouse models that fully recapitulate the genesis and key functions of the gut immune system of humans. Of particular interest is the presence of human gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) aggregates in the gut of NOD/SCID BLT humanized mice that demonstrate the faithful development of bona fide human plasma cells capable of migrating to the lamina propria and producing human IgA1 and IgA2.

Keywords: BLT; GALT; Humanized mice; NOD/SCID; NOG; NSG.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / immunology*
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / pathology
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / immunology*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / pathology
  • Humans
  • Lymphoid Tissue / immunology*
  • Lymphoid Tissue / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred NOD
  • Mice, SCID
  • Models, Immunological*