We desired an animal model for prolidase deficiency which reflected the phenotype in humans with this inherited metabolic disorder. The human disorder is characterized by poor wound healing with ulcers on the lower extremities, bony abnormalities and mental retardation. These findings in humans, however, are not consistent. Pedigrees have been described in which siblings with identical biochemical phenotype may have variable clinical manifestations. To pursue these studies, we established a collaboration with Dr. Teresa Gunn of the McLaughlin Medical Research Institute in Great Falls, Montana. She has described a mouse strain (dal/dal) which have abnormalities in coat color. Breeding a colony of homozygous dal/dal mice, she then identified a 4-bp deletion in the pepd gene encoding prolidase. The phenotype in these animals included hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. We established a colony of these mice and since the backgrouind strain was indeterminate, we obtained heterozygotes breeding dal/dal with C3H and obtained F2 animals which were tested for red cell prolidase to determine WT and dal/dal. Litter mates were then used as controls for our studies. Two protocols were carried out. First, wounds were inflicted with a 5 mm punch biopsy. Control wounds were treated with vehicle whereas test wounds were treated with various preparations of a nitric oxide agent (ProliNO) which released proline as well as nitric oxide. We found that the level of ProliNO used was toxic in that it inhibited wound healing. Importantly, there was no observable difference between WT and dal/dal mice. Another protocol we tried is the two-stage skin tumorigenesis model. Again, we found no difference between WT and daql/dal in their production of papillomas. Thus, we had to conclude that under these conditions, prolidaase activity was not a limiting factor. Despite these disappointing results on wound healing, there has been some exciting news from our collaborators in Italy. Dr. Antonella Pavia at the University of Pavia has found some striking skeletal abnormalities in the dal/dal mice. They have decreased femoral length, and decreased cortical and trabecular area of the tibia metaphysic and diaphysis, Clearly, the skeletal development was affected by the deficiency in prolidase. Dr. Forlino is pursuing these studies as a model for the skeletal abnormalities in humans with prolidase deficiency.
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