Mapping cholesterol gallstone susceptibility (Lith) genes in inbred mice.

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Chromosome-Mapping, Crosses-Genetic, Disease-Models-Animal, Gallstones, Genetic-Predisposition-to-Disease, Mice, Mice-Inbred-C57BL, Mice-Inbred-Strains, Quantitative-Trait-Loci

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see Reprint Collection

JAX Source

Dig Liver Dis 2003 Jul; 35(Suppl3):2-7.


The individual risk for developing cholesterol gallstones in response to specific environmental factors is determined by complex genetics involving multiple genes. In this review, we introduce inbred mice as a model to localise and identify the murine genes that harbour cholesterol gallstone susceptibility alleles (Lith genes). These genes are associated with increased risk of gallstone formation when mice are fed a lithogenic diet containing cholesterol and cholic acid. We summarise the steps involved in localising the chromosomal regions that harbour Lith genes, focusing particularly on the initial step known as quantitative trait locus mapping, which employs breeding crosses of gallstone-susceptible and gallstone-resistant inbred mouse strains. Subsequent steps to narrow the chromosomal regions of the quantitative trait loci and identify the underlying Lith genes are outlined, with particular reference to the examples of Lith1 and Lith2, the first discovered quantitative trait loci associated with murine cholesterol cholelithiasis. We have now reported five quantitative trait loci for murine cholelithogenesis, which are officially named Lith1 through Lith5. Once the genes underlying these quantitative trait loci and other chromosomal loci from ongoing mouse crosses are identified and confirmed, the 'road-map' for discovery of orthologous human LITH genes will be available and, thereafter, their putative roles in cholesterol gallstone formation can be tested in selected human populations.

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