Atkinson, J., Boden, T., Mocho J.-P. et al. 2021. Refining the unilateral ureteral obstruction mouse model: No sham, no shame. Laboratory Animals 55(1), 21-29.
Fibrosis, as a common final pathway in many renal diseases, contributes significantly to the decline of organ function and to progression to end-stage renal disease. To establish therapeutic interventions that target fibrosis, animal models are essential. The most widely used model of renal fibrosis is the unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO) model. Typically, the control for this model is a sham-operated animal. Sham surgery causes pain and distress to these control animals, and here we aim to show that there is no difference in the main read-outs of this model between sham-operated animals and non-operated C57BL/6J mice. In five experiments, quantification of Picro Sirius Red stained collagen in the renal cortex did not show any difference between 15 sham and 25 non-operated individuals. A comparison of the regulation of genes involved with fibrosis did not show any difference between sham and non-operated groups at 21 days post surgery either. We conclude that there are no significant differences between non-operated controls and sham animals with respect to collagen deposition and fibrosis pathways in the UUO mouse model.