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Mast cells are identified in the lung parenchyma of feral mice which can be recapitulated in naturalized laboratory mice
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  • Yu-Wen Yeh,
  • Arka Sen Chaudhuri,
  • Ling Zhou,
  • Fang Yu,
  • Preben Boysen,
  • Zou Xiang
Yu-Wen Yeh
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Department of Health Technology and Informatics
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Arka Sen Chaudhuri
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Department of Health Technology and Informatics
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Ling Zhou
The Affiliated Hospital of Guizhou Medical University
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Fang Yu
The Affiliated Hospital of Guizhou Medical University
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Preben Boysen
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) Oslo Norway
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Zou Xiang
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Department of Health Technology and Informatics

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Abstract

Background: It is well documented that laboratory mice bred and maintained in ultra-hygienic specific pathogen-free (SPF) barriers display reduced richness and complexity of microbiota compared with wild mice. The laboratory mice profoundly lack lung parenchymal mast cells. Hence, we aimed to investigate the lung distribution of mast cells in free-living feral mice. Methods: Feral house mice were trapped in South-Eastern Norway and Hemtabad, West Bengal, India. C57BL/6 laboratory mice were bred in a purposefully built, closed environment with bedding material obtained from the natural environment with wild rodent infestation in order to normalize the gut microbiota of these laboratory mice to that of the wild mice, and the offspring were collected for study at 8 weeks of age. Results: Mast cells were easily identified at a substantial density in the lung parenchymal tissues of feral mice from both Norway and India, which stands in clear contrast to the rare distribution of lung parenchymal mast cells in the conventional laboratory SPF mice. Consistently, wild mice also expressed higher pulmonary levels of stem cell factor, a critical growth factor for mast cell survival. Higher levels of histamine were recorded in the lung tissues of the wild mice. Interestingly, “naturalized” C57BL/6 laboratory mice which spent their entire life in a semi-natural environment developed lung parenchymal mast cells at an appreciable density. Conclusion: Our observations support that environmental factors, possibly through modulation of microbiota, may impact the tissue distribution of mast cells in mouse lung tissues.