Germ-free and barrier-raised TGFβ1-deficient mice have similar inflammatory lesions

Gregory P. Boivin, Iiona Ormsby, Jessica Jones-Carson, Barbara A. O'Toole, Thomas Doetschman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Barrier-raised transforming growth factor β1 (TGFβ1)-deficient mice consistently die before 35 days of age of a severe multiorgan inflammatory disease that can affect the skeletal muscle, heart, liver, pancreas, salivary gland, lung, oesophagus and stomach. The underlying cause of this disease is not known. To determine whether abnormal responsiveness of the immune system to the presence of enteric flora plays a causative role, a colony of TGFβ1-deficient and wild-type mice were raised in a sterile environment. Seven germ-free TGFβ1-deficient and 5 germfree TGFβ1 wild-type mice were examined. Lesion development was analysed and compared with historical data on 50 barrier-raised TGFβ1 mutant mice and 32 barrier-raised wild-type mice. All germ-free TGFβ1-deficient mice died shortly after weaning, as do their barrier-raised counterparts. There was a significant delay in death in germ-free TGFβ1-deficient mice compared with barrier-raised mutant mice. However, there was no difference in the type, severity or incidence of lesions between TGFβ1 mutant mice raised under germ-free or barrier conditions. Germ-free wild-type mice had no lesions. It is concluded that microorganisms play a minimal role in disease induction in TGFβ1-deficient mice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-202
Number of pages6
JournalTransgenic Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1997


  • TGFβ1
  • germ-free
  • gnotobiotic
  • knockout mice
  • pathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Genetics


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