Our understanding of the molecular pathways that control immune responses, particularly immunomodulatory molecules that control the extent and duration of an immune response, have led to new approaches in the field of transplantation immunology to induce allograft survival. These molecular pathways are being defined precisely in murine models and translated into clinical practice; however, many of the newly available drugs are human-specific reagents. Furthermore, many species-specific differences exist between mouse and human immune systems. Recent advances in the development of humanized mice, namely, immunodeficient mice engrafted with functional human immune systems, have led to the availability of a small animal model for the study of human immune responses. Humanized mice represent an important preclinical model system for evaluation of new drugs and identification of the mechanisms underlying human allograft rejection without putting patients at risk. This review highlights recent advances in the development of humanized mice and their use as preclinical models for the study of human allograft responses.
Keywords: animal models; basic (laboratory) research/science; cellular transplantation (non-islet); experimental; islet transplantation; regenerative medicine; rejection; stem cells; tolerance; translational research/science.
© Copyright 2015 The American Society of Transplantation and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons.