Using a Mouse Model to Study Cranofacial Development

Researchers from the laboratory of Paul Trainor, PhD, have found a way to use mice to study high-arched palate, a disorder in which the roof of the mouth is oddly high and steep.

The mice mimic Treacher Collins syndrome (TCS) in humans, of which high-arched palate is a feature. To help move this research forward, scientists needed to come up with a consistent, measurement-based definition of high-arched palate, one they could use across all mouse models.

Trainor and his collaborators used a 3-D imaging technique to measure the palates of the offspring to see which of their attributes—palate shelf length, shelf width, arch height, or arch angle—were significantly different. They found that TCS mice had much higher arched palates, in terms of shelf height and angle, than the normal mice.

Recent related work from the Trainor Lab and their collaborators showed that TCS mice born to mothers who had received antioxidant supplements exhibited fewer craniofacial abnormalities than control group mice. This observation suggests that a dietary supplementation approach may provide a way to protect against TCS.

This work was published in recent issues of Nature Communications and Developmental Biology.