Doctoral defence: Maria Piirsalu “Effects of inflammation and diet on the metabolic profile and selected genetic parameters of Bl6 and 129Sv mouse lines”

On 18 April at 15:00 Maria Piirsalu will defend her doctoral thesis “Effects of inflammation and diet on the metabolic profile and selected genetic parameters of Bl6 and 129Sv mouse lines” for obtaining the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (in Neurosciences).
 
Supervisors:
Professor Eero Vasar, University of Tartu
Associate Professor Kersti Lilleväli, University of Tartu
Professor Mihkel Zilmer, University of Tartu

Opponent:
Associate Professor Agnete Larsen, University of Aarhus (Denmark)

Summary
The genetic makeup of mice largely corresponds to that of humans, which is why they are irreplaceable model organisms in both the pharmaceutical industry and biomedical research. Mice are often used as model organisms for human diseases to understand the causes and nature of disease. But they are also used in drug development for efficacy and safety testing. Mouse lines used in research laboratories are genetically homogeneous. Such genetic homogeneity reduces variability of results and facilitates experimentation. However, different inbred lines carry different fixed alleles and therefore exhibit different phenotypic characteristics, which affects experimental results. Choosing the right inbred strain for a particular experiment is an important consideration when working with laboratory mice and thus it is important to thoroughly map the functional differences between mouse lines. In this dissertation, two mouse lines, Bl6 and 129Sv, were compared with particular emphasis on inflammation and metabolic syndrome. Our results show that Bl6 mice are better able to cope with the negative effects of inflammation and a high-fat diet. In contrast, 129Sv mice are more sensitive to immune activation and more susceptible to metabolic syndrome, both important features of psychiatric disorders. In summary, Bl6 mice are better suited for studying aggressiveness and addictive behaviors, whereas 129Sv mice are better suited for modeling endophenotypes associated with more severe psychiatric disorders.

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