Immunodeficient Mouse Models: An Overview

José E. Belizário*
Department of Pharmacology, Institute of Biomedical Sciences, University of São Paulo, SP, CEP 05508-900, Brazil.

© 2009 José E. Belizário ;

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Pharmacology, ICB, USP, Avenida Lineu Prestes, 1524 CEP 05508-900, São Paulo, SP,Brazil; Fax: 55-11-3091 7318; E-mail:


The development and use of an increasing number and variety of naturally, transgenic, induced mutant, and genetically engineered immunodeficient mouse and mouse/human hybrids models have been imperative for understanding the gene-driven cellular and molecular mechanisms and pathophysiological manifestations (phenotypes) of immune disorders that are similar to mice and humans. Much more effort is needed to develop new system models to promote the integration of thousands of genes and their variants that are likely to affect the outcome of microbial infections, immune deficiency and autoimmunity. This article provides an update on characteristics and applications of most commonly used inbred and new hybrid strains of naturally immunodeficiency, knockout and transgenic mouse models, and a short discussion on how innovative technologies and databases presently available can be used for devising new models to better understand the human immune system and diseases that affect it.

Keywords: Animal Models, Immune System, Immunodeficiency, Xenografts.