Animal Models for Alopecia Areata: What and Where?

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Disease is not limited to humans. Rather, humans are but another mammal in a continuum, and as such, often share similar if not identical diseases with other mammalian species. Alopecia areata (AA) is such a disease. Natural disease occurs in humans, nonhuman primates, many domestic animals, and laboratory rodents. However, to be useful as models of human disease, affected animals need to be readily available to the research community, closely resemble the human disease, be easy to work with, and provide reproducible data. To date, the laboratory mouse (most if not all of the C3H substrains) and the Dundee experimental bald rat fit these criteria. Manipulations using full-thickness skin grafts or specific immune cell transfers have improved the models. New mouse models that carry a variety of genetic-based immunodeficiencies can now be used to recapitulate the human immune system and allow for human fullthickness skin grafts onto mice to investigate humanspecific mechanistic and therapeutic questions. These models are summarized here including where they can currently be obtained from public access repositories.

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