The etiopathogenesis of cleft lip and cleft palate: usefulness and caveats of mouse models.Curr Top Dev Biol 2008; 84:37-138CT
Cleft lip and cleft palate are frequent human congenital malformations with a complex multifactorial etiology. These orofacial clefts can occur as part of a syndrome involving multiple organs or as isolated clefts without other detectable defects. Both forms of clefting constitute a heavy burden to the affected individuals and their next of kin. Human and mouse facial traits are utterly dissimilar. However, embryonic development of the lip and palate are strikingly similar in both species, making the mouse a model of choice to study their normal and abnormal development. Human epidemiological and genetic studies are clearly important for understanding the etiology of lip and palate clefting. However, our current knowledge about the etiopathogenesis of these malformations has mainly been gathered throughout the years from mouse models, including those with mutagen-, teratogen- and targeted mutation-induced clefts as well as from mice with spontaneous clefts. This review provides a comprehensive description of the numerous mouse models for cleft lip and/or cleft palate. Despite a few weak points, these models have revealed a high order of molecular complexity as well as the stringent spatiotemporal regulations and interactions between key factors which govern the development of these orofacial structures.