The genetic background significantly impacts the severity of kidney cystic disease in the Pkd1RC/RC mouse model of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease

Jennifer Arroyo, Diana Escobar-Zarate, Harrison H. Wells, Megan M. Constans, Ka Thao, Jessica M. Smith, Cynthia J. Sieben, Madeline R. Martell, Timothy L. Kline, Maria V. Irazabal, Vicente E. Torres, Katharina Hopp, Peter C. Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD), primarily due to PKD1 or PKD2 mutations, causes progressive kidney cyst development and kidney failure. There is significant intrafamilial variability likely due to the genetic background and environmental/lifestyle factors; variability that can be modeled in PKD mice. Here, we characterized mice homozygous for the PKD1 hypomorphic allele, p.Arg3277Cys (Pkd1RC/RC), inbred into the BALB/cJ (BC) or the 129S6/SvEvTac (129) strains, plus F1 progeny bred with the previously characterized C57BL/6J (B6) model; F1(BC/B6) or F1(129/B6). By one-month cystic disease in both the BC and 129 Pkd1RC/RC mice was more severe than in B6 and continued with more rapid progression to six to nine months. Thereafter, the expansive disease stage plateaued/declined, coinciding with increased fibrosis and a clear decline in kidney function. Greater severity correlated with more inter-animal and inter-kidney disease variability, especially in the 129-line. Both F1 combinations had intermediate disease severity, more similar to B6 but progressive from one-month of age. Mild biliary dysgenesis, and an early switch from proximal tubule to collecting duct cysts, was seen in all backgrounds. Preclinical testing with a positive control, tolvaptan, employed the F1(129/B6)-Pkd1RC/RC line, which has moderately progressive disease and limited isogenic variability. Magnetic resonance imaging was utilized to randomize animals and provide total kidney volume endpoints; complementing more traditional data. Thus, we show how genetic background can tailor the Pkd1RC/RC model to address different aspects of pathogenesis and disease modification, and describe a possible standardized protocol for preclinical testing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1392-1407
Number of pages16
JournalKidney international
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • PKD1
  • animal models
  • disease modifiers
  • preclinical testing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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