International Journal of Molecular Sciences | 2019
Murine Models of Acute Myeloid Leukaemia
Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is a rare but severe form of human cancer that results from a limited number of functionally cooperating genetic abnormalities leading to uncontrolled proliferation and impaired differentiation of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells. Before the identification of genetic driver lesions, chemically, irradiation or viral infection-induced mouse leukaemia models provided platforms to test novel chemotherapeutics. Later, transgenic mouse models were established to test the in vivo transforming potential of newly cloned fusion genes and genetic aberrations detected in patients’ genomes. Hereby researchers constitutively or conditionally expressed the respective gene in the germline of the mouse or reconstituted the hematopoietic system of lethally irradiated mice with bone marrow virally expressing the mutation of interest. More recently, immune deficient mice have been explored to study patient-derived human AML cells in vivo. Unfortunately, although complementary to each other, none of the currently available strategies faithfully model the initiation and progression of the human disease. Nevertheless, fast advances in the fields of next generation sequencing, molecular technology and bioengineering are continuously contributing to the generation of better mouse models. Here we review the most important AML mouse models of each category, briefly describe their advantages and limitations and show how they have contributed to our understanding of the biology and to the development of novel therapies.