Common heritable immunological variations revealed in genetically diverse inbred mouse strains of the collaborative cross
Journal of Immunology
American Association of Immunologists
School of Medical and Health Sciences
Variations in the proportion and number of specific immune cell types among healthy individuals are influenced by both heritable and nonheritable factors. Mouse models, subjected to fewer nonheritable factors than humans, allow the identification of genetic factors that shape the immune system. We characterized immunological trait variability in the Collaborative Cross (CC), a powerful genetic resource of recombinant inbred mouse strains derived from eight diverse founder strains. Of the 18 immunological traits studied in more than 60 CC strains, eight showed genome-wide significant linkage, revealing new genetic loci linked to specific immune traits. We also found that these traits were highly subject to heritable influences. As for humans, mouse immunological traits varied as a continuum rather than as discrete immunophenotypes. The CC thus represents a useful resource to identify factors that determine immunological variations, as well as defining other immune traits likely to be heritable in humans.