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Working Group 4: Transgenerational Animal Models

Head: Susanne Krauss-Etschmann, Research Center Borstel, Leibniz-Center for Medicine and Biosciences, Germany.

A main objective of this WG is the generation and validation of transgenerational animal models for chronic lung diseases. As there are many potentially interacting genetic and environmental factors, several different models such as maternal smoking or early allergen exposure neonatal ventilation are used. Improvement or inclusion of novel models is done according to input from WG1. An important task of this WG will be to streamline efforts in order to allow comparisons among the different models. Different age periods (neonatal, juvenile, adult) will be addressed in the offspring.

Besides establishing of models, the molecular basis for formation of disease risks is investigated. The hypothesis is followed that prenatal/early exposures alter epigenetic regulation of genes involved in lung development, setting the stage for higher disease susceptibility. Epigenetic changes are  investigated in genes already known to be involved both in lung development and in disease and according to input from WGs 2 & 3. In some instances, transgenerational transmission of disease risk and epigenetic marks is followed.

The main expected outcomes of WG4 are:

  • Establishment of further validated transgenerational animal models for CLD
  • Insight into underlying mechanisms of transgenerational transmission of disease risks including molecular pathways, cellular interactions, and epigenetic changes
  • Insight into mechanisms by which early-life events have long-term effects, and whether the pathway can be altered or reversed
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