When used as hosts in passive transfer experiments, a stock of NOD/Lt mice congenic for the severe combined immunodeficiency (scid) mutation have provided great insight to the contributions of various T-cell populations in the pathogenesis of autoimmune insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM). Moreover, NOD-scid mice support higher levels of human lymphohematopoietic cell growth than the C.B-17-scid strain in which the mutation originated. However, the ability to perform long-term lymphohematopoietic repopulation studies in the NOD-scid stock has been limited by the fact that most of these mice develop lethal thymic lymphomas beginning at 20 weeks of age. These thymic lymphomas are characterized by activation and subsequent genomic reintegrations of Emv30, an endogenous murine ecotropic retrovirus unique to the NOD genome. To test the role of this endogenous retrovirus in thymomagenesis, we produced a stock of Emv30null NOD-scid mice by congenic replacement of the proximal end of chromosome 11 with genetic material derived from the closely related NOR/Lt strain. Thymic lymphomas still initiate in Emv30null NOD-scid females, but their rate of progression is significantly retarded since the frequency of tumors weighing between 170 and 910 mg at 25 weeks of age was reduced to 20.8% vs. 76.2% in Emv30% segregants. The thymic lymphomas that did develop in Emv30null NOD-scid mice were not characterized by a compensatory increase in mink cell focus–forming proviral integrations, which initiate thymomagenesis in other susceptible mouse strains. Significantly, the ability of standard NOD T-cells to transfer IDDM to the Emv30null NOD-scid stock was not impaired. Similarly, the elimination of Emv30 did notabrogate the enhanced ability of NOD-scid mice to support the growth of human peripheral blood leukocytes. These findings coupled with the slowed progression of thymic lymphomas indicate that Emv30null NOD-scid mice are an improved,but not yet optimal, recipient for long-term

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