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New Rodent Population Models May Inform Human Health Risk Assessment and Identification of Genetic Susceptibility to Environmental Exposures

Alison H. Harrill and Kimberly A. McAllister
Environmental Health Perspectives (2017). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP1274 PMID: 28886592



BACKGROUND: This paper provides an introduction for environmental health scientists to emerging population-based rodent resources. Mouse reference populations provide an opportunity to model environmental exposures and gene-environment interactions in human disease and to inform human health risk assessment.

OBJECTIVES: This review will describe several mouse populations for toxicity assessment, including older models such as the Mouse Diversity Panel (MDP), and newer models that include the Collaborative Cross (CC) and Diversity Outbred (DO) models.

METHODS: This review will outline the features of the MDP, CC, and DO mouse models and will discuss published case studies investigating the use of these mouse population resources in each step of the risk assessment paradigm.

DISCUSSION: These unique resources have the potential to be powerful tools for generating hypotheses related to gene-environment interplay in human disease, performing controlled exposure studies to understand the differential responses in humans for susceptibility or resistance to environmental exposures, and identifying gene variants that influence sensitivity to toxicity and disease states.

CONCLUSIONS: These new resources offer substantial advances to classical toxicity testing paradigms by including genetically sensitive individuals that may inform toxicity risks for sensitive subpopulations. Both in vivo and complementary in vitro resources provide platforms with which to reduce uncertainty by providing population-level data around biological variability. https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP1274.


Figure 1. Characteristics of the MDP, DO, and CC RI lines.

Figure 2. Potential uses of mouse populations through the risk assessment paradigm.