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SPECIAL COLLECTION: SPOTLIGHT ON RAT: TRANSLATIONAL IMPACT

EDITORIAL

Summary: This Editorial introduces a new Special Collection, ‘Spotlight on Rat: Translational Impact’, providing a summary of the articles published in this launch issue and a flavour of what's to come, as well as highlighting the impact rat models have made and continue to make on understanding human disease.

A MODEL FOR LIFE

Summary: Howard Jacob describes some of the key moments and breakthroughs in his remarkable career, and the path that led him from his research roots in cardiovascular disease and rat physiology to becoming Director of a clinical genomic sequencing program.

AT A GLANCE

Summary: In this At a Glance poster review, Ellenbroek and Youn describe important differences between rats and mice that impact on their use as model organisms for brain disorders.

SPECIAL ARTICLE

Summary: The Rat Genome Database (RGD) is the most comprehensive site for genetic, genomic and phenotype data for Rattus norvegicus, a leading animal model for disease-, drug- and toxicity-related research.

REVIEWS

Summary: This Review describes the most recent advances in the field of systems genetics, focusing on the rat. We cover from the first integrative genomics strategies (such as mapping of expression QTLs or eQTLs) and conclude with the most sophisticated gene network-based analyses in multiple systems and disease states.

Summary: Using experimental models of rheumatoid arthritis, natural genetic polymorphisms associated with arthritis are identified and characterised in rats, bringing in new biological insights into arthritis in humans.

Summary: In this Review, we discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the rat for studies of experimental spinal cord injury and summarize the knowledge gained from such studies.

RESEARCH ARTICLES

Editors' choice: Transferring a Tp53-knockout allele from an outbred rat stock to the F344 inbred rat genetic background alters the spectrum of tumors, providing a model of early-onset brain and bone sarcomas.

Summary: Rats with a novel dopamine D1 receptor mutation, which causes reduced membrane Drd1 expression, display impaired social cognition, although their exploratory and anxiety-like behaviours are unaffected.

Summary: This is the first pharmacological study examining the effect of repeated nicotine treatment on multiple schizophrenia-like cognitive deficits induced by maternal exposure to an infectious agent (LPS) in rats.

Summary: A complete null of osteocalcin, generated by the CRISPR/Cas9 system, results in an increase in trabecular bone, increased bone strength and altered glucose homeostasis in Sprague-Dawley rats.

Summary: Early sequence of afferent injury and repair in vestibular sensory epithelium that correlates with balance disorders and functional restoration is detailed in a rodent model of excitotoxicity.

Summary: Early G-CSF treatment (within 24 hours of a rAION infarct) can stabilize optic nerve (ON) vascular permeability to reduce macrophage infiltration into the ON and induce M2 microglia/macrophage polarization at the ON, resulting in decreased inflammation.

Summary: Rat hepatitis E virus strain LA-B350 is used as a model for antiviral studies for hepatitis E virus using a cDNA clone, replicon and in vivo studies.

Summary: To define disease-inducing immune responses, unbiased gene expression in LEW.1AV1 (RT1av1) rats immunized with autoantigen-derived encephalitogenic and non-encephalitogenic peptides was investigated in MOG-EAE. CXCR4, CXCL12, AKT and CD38 control CNS inflammation.

Summary: Muscle of ‘developmentally programmed’ rat offspring demonstrated accelerated aging and oxidative stress, which could explain why some individuals are at greater risk of developing age-associated muscular dysfunction than others.

RESOURCE ARTICLE

Summary: Feeding with a cafeteria diet (CAF) is a reproducible model of human metabolic syndrome in the rat. By using inbred rat models of nutrigenomics, we have studied the effect of CAF on monocyte transcriptome.

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