Disease Stage Characterization of Hepatorenal Fibrocystic Pathology in the PCK Rat Model of ARPKD



The rat Pck gene is orthologous to the human PKHD1 gene responsible for autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease (ARPKD). Both renal and hepatic fibrocystic pathology occur in ARPKD. Affected humans have a variable rate of progression, from morbidly affected infants to those surviving into adulthood. This study evaluated the PCK rat, a model of slowly progressive ARPKD. This model originated in Japan and was rederived to be offered commercially by Charles River Laboratories (Wilmington, MA). Previous studies have described the basic aspects of PCK pathology from privately held colonies. This study provides a comprehensive characterization of rats from those commercially available. Rats were bred, maintained on a 12:12 hr light/dark cycle, fed (7002 Teklad), and water provided ad libitum. Male and female rats were evaluated from 4 through 35 weeks of age with histology and serum chemistry. As the hepatorenal fibrocystic disease progressed beyond 18 weeks, the renal pathology (kidney weight, total cyst volume) and renal dysfunction (BUN and serum creatinine) tended to be more severe in males, whereas liver pathology (liver weight as % of body weight and hepatic fibrocystic volume) tended to be more severe in females. Hyperlipidemia was evident in both genders after 18 weeks. Bile secretion was increased in PCK rats compared with age-matched Sprague Dawley rats. The PCK is an increasingly used orthologous rodent model of human ARPKD. This characterization study of hepatorenal fibrocystic pathology in PCK rats should help researchers select stages of pathology to study and/or monitor disease progression during their longitudinal studies. Anat Rec 293:1279–1288, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.