Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

In order to fully understand gene function, at some point, it is necessary to study the effects in an intact organism. The creation of the first knockout mouse in the late 1980’s gave rise to a revolution in the field of integrative physiology that continues to this day. There are many complex choices when selecting a strategy for genetic modification, some of which will be touched on in this review, but the principal focus is to highlight the potential problems and pitfalls arising from the interpretation of in vivo cardiac phenotypes. As an exemplar, we will scrutinize the field of cardiac energetics and the attempts to understand the role of the creatine kinase (CK) energy buffering and transport system in the intact organism. This story highlights the confounding effects of genetic background, sex, and age, as well as the difficulties in interpreting knockout models in light of promiscuous proteins and metabolic redundancy. It will consider the dose-dependent effects and unintended consequences of transgene overexpression, and the need for experimental rigour in the context of in vivo phenotyping techniques. It is intended that this review will not only bring clarity to the field of cardiac energetics, but also aid the non-expert in evaluating and critically assessing data arising from in vivo genetic modification.

Original publication




Journal article


Frontiers in Physiology


Frontiers Media SA

Publication Date