Comparative Evaluation of Inducible Cre Mouse Models for Fibroblast Targeting in the Healthy and Infarcted Myocardium
Laura Pilar Aguado-Alvaro 1 2 , Nerea Garitano 1 2 , Gloria Abizanda 1 , Eduardo Larequi 1 , Felipe Prosper 1 2 3 , Beatriz Pelacho 1 2
Several Cre recombinase transgenic mouse models have been generated for cardiac fibroblast (CF) tracking and heart regulation. However, there is still no consensus on the ideal mouse model to optimally identify and/or regulate these cells.
Here, a comparative evaluation of the efficiency and specificity of the indirect reporter Cre-loxP system was carried out in three of the most commonly used fibroblast reporter transgenic mice (Pdgfra-CreERT2, Col1a1-CreERT2 and PostnMCM) under healthy and ischemic conditions, to determine their suitability in in vivo studies of cardiac fibrosis. We demonstrate optimal Cre recombinase activity in CF (but also, although moderate, in endothelial cells (ECs)) derived from healthy and infarcted hearts in the PDGFRa-creERT2 mouse strain.
In contrast, no positive reporter signal was found in CF derived from the Col1a1-CreERT2 mice. Finally, in the PostnMCM line, fluorescent reporter expression was specifically detected in activated CF but not in EC, which leads us to conclude that it may be the most reliable model for future studies on cardiovascular disease. Importantly, no lethality or cardiac fibrosis were induced after tamoxifen administration at the established doses, either in healthy or infarcted mice of the three fibroblast reporter lineages.
This study lays the groundwork for future efficient in vivo CF tracking and functional analyses.