The human skin is a major barrier for host defense against many human pathogens. The skin is also the primary route of infection for a myriad of vector-borne diseases. Several human pathogens that target the skin are unable to infect traditional rodent models or recapitulate the pathogenesis in humans.
The human skin is a major barrier for host defense against many human pathogens, with several pathogens directly targeting the skin for replication and disease. The skin is also the primary route of infection for a myriad of vector-borne diseases; thus cutaneous immune cells play a major role in modulating transmission for such infectious diseases. Several human pathogens that target the skin as a major route of infection are unable to infect traditional rodent models or recapitulate the pathogenesis in humans. It is well established that differences exist in human skin and immune cell biology compared to rodent models. Therefore, rodent (mouse and rat) models that incorporate human skin and immune cells would addressed the above discussed technical gap, and enable in vivo mechanistic studies of human host-skin pathogen interactions, and support the development of novel therapeutics. Here, we introduce the novel human Skin and Immune System (hSIS)-humanized NOD-scid IL2Rgnull (NSG) mouse and Sprague-Dawley-Rag2tm2hera Il2rgtm1hera (SRG) rat models, co-engrafted with full-thickness human fetal skin, autologous fetal lymphoid tissues, and fetal liver-derived hematopoietic stem cells. hSIS-humanized rodents support the development of adult-like, full-thickness human skin and human lymphoid tissues, and support human immune cell development. Furthermore, the engrafted human skin supports Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection, demonstrating the utility of these humanized rodent models in studying human disease.