Menkes disease (MD) is caused by a defect in copper homeostasis and has a recognised mouse model, mottled (Atp7aMo). Copper uptake and retention assays performed on fibroblast cultures have been used successfully for pre- and postnatal diagnosis of Menkes disease. We report here the results of these assays applied to primary fibroblast cultures established from nine independent mottled alleles associated with phenotypes of varying severity maintained on identical genetic backgrounds. No significant differences were found between the different alleles, or between the mottled cultures and fibroblasts established from MD patients. Thus, in the mouse, the data obtained for copper retention/uptake at the cellular level do not correlate with the severity of the phenotype.
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