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Immunology and Infection

Establishment of the Dual Humanized TK-NOG Mouse Model for HIV-associated Liver Pathogenesis

Published: September 11th, 2019



1Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience, University of Nebraska Medical Center, 2Department of Pathology and Microbiology, University of Nebraska Medical Center

This protocol provides a reliable method to establish humanized mice with both human immune system and liver cells. Dual reconstituted immunodeficient mice achieved via intrasplenic injection of human hepatocytes and CD34+ hematopoietic stem cells are susceptible to human immunodeficiency virus-1 infection and recapitulate liver damage as observed in HIV-infected patients.

Despite the increased life expectancy of patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1), liver disease has emerged as a common cause of their morbidity. The liver immunopathology caused by HIV-1 remains elusive. Small xenograft animal models with human hepatocytes and human immune system can recapitulate the human biology of the disease's pathogenesis. Herein, a protocol is described to establish a dual humanized mouse model through human hepatocytes and CD34+ hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs) transplantation, to study liver immunopathology as observed in HIV-infected patients. To achieve dual reconstitution, male TK-NOG (NOD.Cg-Prkdcscid Il2rgtm1Sug Tg(Alb-TK)7-2/ShiJic) mice are intraperitoneally injected with ganciclovir (GCV) doses to eliminate mouse transgenic liver cells, and with treosulfan for nonmyeloablative conditioning, both of which facilitate human hepatocyte (HEP) engraftment and human immune system (HIS) development. Human albumin (ALB) levels are evaluated for liver engraftment, and the presence of human immune cells in blood detected by flow cytometry confirms the establishment of human immune system. The model developed using the protocol described here resembles multiple components of liver damage from HIV-1 infection. Its establishment could prove to be essential for studies of hepatitis virus co-infection and for the evaluation of antiviral and antiretroviral drugs.

Since the advent of antiretroviral therapy, there has been a substantial decrease in deaths related to HIV-1 monoinfection. However, liver disease has emerged as a common cause of morbidity in HIV-infected patients1,2. Coinfections of hepatitis viruses with HIV-1 infection are more common, accounting for 10% - 30% of HIV-infected persons in the United States3,4,5.

The host-specificity of HIV-1 and hepatitis viruses limits the utility of small animal models to study human-specific infectious....

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This protocol has been approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

NOTE: Obtain approval from the local IACUC before performing experiments on animals.

1. Processing of Umbilical Cord Blood and the Isolation of Human HSPCs

  1. Perform all steps of the protocol under sterile conditions in laminar flow cabinets.
  2. Take umbilical cord blood (CB) collected in hepa.......

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The establishment of a dual humanized mouse model with human liver and immune cells can be easily monitored at each step with very simple ELISA and flow cytometry, respectively. Flow cytometry is regularly performed to evaluate the development of a functional immune system and to see the effect of HIV infection on immune cells. In dual humanized mice, the development of functional immune cells can range from 15% to 90% of the lymphocyte gate. Representative subsets of immune cells are sho.......

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The liver is compromised and damaged in HIV-infected patients24. Experimental small animal models for studying human liver diseases in the presence of HIV-1 is extremely limited, despite the availability of a few cotransplanted animal models with CD34+ HSPCs and hepatocytes7,12,25. In in vitro experiments, hepatocytes are shown to have low-level HIV-1 infection26. Humani.......

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This work was supported by the National Institute of Health grant R24OD018546 (to L.Y.P. and S.G.). The authors would like to thank Weizhe Li, Ph.D., for the help in surgical procedures, Amanda Branch Woods, B.S., Yan Cheng for immunohistology, UNMC flow cytometry research facility members Director Phillip Hexley, Ph.D., Victoria B. Smith, B.S., and Samantha Wall, B.S., UNMC advanced microscopy core facility members Janice A. Taylor, B.S., and James R. Talaska, B.S., for the technical support. The authors acknowledge Drs. Mamoru Ito and Hiroshi Suemizu from CIEA for providing TK-NOG mice and Dr. Joachim Baumgart for providing treosulfan. The authors thank Dr. Adrian K....

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Name Company Catalog Number Comments
27G1/2" needles BD biosciences 305109
30G1/2" needles BD biosciences 305106
5 mL polystyrene  round-bottom tube 12 x 75 mm style Corning 352054
BD 1 mL Tuberculin Syringe Without Needle BD biosciences 309659
BD FACS array bioanalyzer  BD Biosciences For purity check of eluted CD34+ cells 
BD FACS array software BD Biosciences Software to analysis acquired CD34+ cell on FACS array
BD FACS lysing solution BD Biosciences 349202 To lyse red blood cells
BD LSR II BD Biosciences Instrument for acquisiton of flow cytometry samples
BD Vacutainer Plastic Blood Collection Tube BD biosciences BD 367874 To collect Cord blood
Bovine Serum Albumin  Sigma-aldrich A9576
Buprenorphine Controlled substance and pain-killer
CD14-PE BD Biosciences 555398 Specific to human
CD19-BV605 BD Biosciences 562653 Specific to human
CD34 MicroBead Kit, human Miltenyi Biotec 130-046-702 For isoation of   CD34+ HSPC
CD34-PE, human Miltenyi Biotec 130-081-002 Antibody used for purity check of eluted CD34+ cells 
CD3-AF700 BD Biosciences 557943 Specific to human
CD45-PerCPCy5.5 BD Biosciences 564105 Specific to human
CD4-APC BD Biosciences 555349 Specific to human
CD8-BV421 BD Biosciences 562428 Specific to human
Cell counting slides Bio-rad 1450015
ChargeSwitch gDNA Mini Tissue Kit Thermofisher scientific CS11204 for extraction of genomic DNA from ear piece
Cobas Amplicor system v1.5  Roche Molecular Diagnostics bioanalyzer to measure viral load
Cotton-tipped applicators   McKesson 24-106-2S
Cytokeratin-18 (CK18) DAKO M7010 Specific to human
DMSO (Dimethyl sulfoxide) Sigma-aldrich D2650-5X5ML
Extension set Microbore Slide Clamp(s) Fixed Male Luer Lock. L: 60 in L: 152 cm PV: 0.55 mL Fluid Path Sterile BD biosciences 30914 Attached to dispensing pippet and to load with HSPC and HEP suspesion
FACS Diva version 6 BD Biosciences flow cytometer software required for  acqusition of sample
Fetal Bovine Serum (FBS) Gibco 10438026
FLOWJO analysis software
FLOWJO, LLC flow cytometry analysis software
Ganciclovir APP Pharmaceuticals, Inc. 315110 Prescripition drug
Greiner MiniCollect EDTA Tubes Greiner bio-one 450475
Hepatocytes thawing medium  Triangle Research Labs  MCHT50
Horizon Open Ligating Clip Appliers Teleflex 537061 To hold the ligating clips
Hospira Sterile Water for Injection ACE surgical supply co. Inc. 001-1187 For dilution of Buprenorphine (pain-killer)
Human Albumin ELISA Quantitation Set Bethyl laboratories E80-129 For assesing human albumin levels in mouse serum
Human hepatocyte Triangle Research Labs  HUCP1  Cryopreserved human hepatocytes, induction qualified 
Iris Scissors, Straight Ted Pella, Inc. 13295
Lancet MEDIpoint Goldenrod 5 mm
LS columns  Miltenyi Biotec 130-042-401 Used to entrap CD34+ microbeads (positive selection)
Lymphocyte Separation Medium (LSM) MP Biomedicals 50494 For isoation of   lymphocytes from peripheral blood
MACS MultiStand Miltenyi Biotec 130-042-303 holds Qudro MACS seperator and LS columns
McPherson-Vannas Micro Dissecting Spring Scissors Roboz Surgical Instrument Co. RS-5605 Used to make an incision on skin to expose spleen
Micro Dissecting Forceps Roboz Surgical Instrument Co. RS-5157  to hold and pull out spleen from peritoneal cavity
mouse CD45-FITC BD Biosciences 553080 mouse-specific
PBS (Phosphate Buffered Saline) Hyclone SH30256.02
Qudro MACS separator  Miltenyi Biotec 130-090-976 holds four LS columns
RPMI 1640 medium Gibco 11875093
StepOne Plus Real Time PCR  Applied Biosystems Instrument used  to  genotype
Stepper Series Repetitive Dispensing Pipette 1ml DYMAX CORP T15469 Used to  dispense  HSPC and HEP supension in controlled manner
Suturevet PGA synthetic absorbale suture Henry Schein Animal Health 41178 Suturing of skin and peritoneum
TaqMan Gene Expression Master Mix Thermofisher scientific 4369016
TC20 automated cell counter Bio-rad 1450102
TK-NOG mice  Provided by the Central Institute for Experimental Animals (CIEA, Japan; Drs. Mamoru Ito and Hiroshi Suemizu)
Treosulfan Medac GmbH Provided by  Dr. Joachim Baumgart (medac GmbH) 
Trypan Blue Bio-rad 1450022
Vannas-type Micro Scissors, Straight, 80mm L Ted Pella, Inc. 1346 Used to make an incision on skin to expose spleen
Weck hemoclip traditional titanium ligating clips Esutures 523700 To ligate the spleen post-injection

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