Diamond-Blackfan anemia (DBA) is a ribosomopathy that is characterized by macrocytic anemia, congenital malformations, and early onset during childhood. Genetic studies have demonstrated that most patients carry mutations in one of the 20 related genes, most of which encode ribosomal proteins (RP). Treatment of DBA includes corticosteroid therapy, chronic red blood cell transfusion, and other forms of immunosuppression. Currently, hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is the only cure for DBA. Interestingly, spontaneous remissions occur in 10-20% of transfusion-dependent DBA patients. However, there is no consistent association between specific mutations and clinical manifestations. In the past decades, researchers have made significant progress in understanding the pathogenesis of DBA, but it remains unclear how the ubiquitous RP haploinsufficiency causes the erythroid-specific defect in hematopoiesis in DBA patients, and why there is a difference in penetrance and spontaneous remission among individuals who carry identical mutations. In this paper, we provide a comprehensive review of the development of DBA animal models and discuss the future research directions for these important experimental systems.
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