Microbiome and Germ-Free INSIGHTS


Hot Topics at AALAS National Meeting 2017

During the week of October 15, 2017, I attended the 68th National AALAS meeting in Austin, Texas. It has been almost twenty years since I attended my first AALAS National meeting, and it was an excellent opportunity to meet new people and reconnect with colleagues to share lab animal science news. The meeting had ten posters and six platform sessions related to the animal model microbiome. Julia...

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Foundational Gnotobiotics Concepts

Gnotobiology isn't new, but the dramatic expansion of microbiome research has outpaced the development of a common nomenclature within the gnotobiotic research community. Many different, and sometimes confusing, terms are used when referring to different gnotobiotic concepts. To help, here's an overview of the most commonly used gnotobiotic rodent model concepts with examples of how these concepts are applied in basic research and drug discovery. Gnotobiology means...

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Microbiome Summit Exploring Industry-Academic Partnerships

International microbiome experts from academia and industry recently came together for the inaugural Microbiome Summit in Copenhagen, Denmark on October 5, 2017. Hosted by the Medicon Valley Alliance (MVA), this summit was intended to "bring together key ... stakeholders from academia, industry and the hospital sector ... to develop knowledge-sharing and a strong scientific community," according to chairman Morten Sommer. Sommer, also a Professor at the Novo...

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Transferring the Wild Mouse Microbiome via Fecal Microbiota Transfer

An elegant new study proves "natural" microbiomes can be transferred to, and maintained in, SPF laboratory mice. The Problem with SPF Mice Historically, laboratory mice have been valued for their well-defined genetics and a health profile free from mouse pathogens. Over the last thirty years, efforts have been made to improve the health of laboratory mice by removing organisms that are deemed pathogenic. That list is now...

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Book Review: Gnotobiotics

Gnotobiotics, edited by Trenton Schoeb and Kathryn Eaton, is invaluable to those developing or managing gnotobiotic facilities. The book is part of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine Series, published by Elselvier, and covers a number of species including rodents, swine and fish. It is assembled from contributions by nineteen authors with firsthand experience managing gnotobiotic facilities. James Fox nicely captures the essence of this book...

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Moderate Exercise Has Limited but Distinguishable Effects on the Mouse Microbiome

Researchers have identified measurable effects of exercise on the gut microbiome in mice, according to a study published in mSystems. In "Moderate Exercise Has Limited but Distinguishable Effects on the Mouse Microbiome," researchers at Dalhousie University, Canada, compared gut microbial diversity and changes in exercise-associated inflammatory markers over an 8-week period in sedentary mice and mice that performed either voluntary or moderate forced exercise. They found levels...

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Seeing the Microbiome with Fresh Eyes

Anthony St. Leger and colleagues from the National Eye Institute at the National Institute of Health (NIH) recently published evidence that the ocular microbiome plays an important immunological role1. The Ocular Microbiome The surface of the human body is colonized by a diverse community of microorganisms, and the eye is no exception. Yet the ocular surface contains relatively few bacteria, approximately 150-fold fewer than the mouth2. Many...

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TH17-Inducing Gut Bacteria Can Promote Autism-like Behavior in Mouse Pups

Segmented filamentous bacteria (SFB) in the terminal ileum of an 8-week-old Taconic B6 mouse On September 13, 2017 researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Massachusetts Medical School simultaneously published papers in Nature on the same intriguing topic: a link between autism and infection during pregnancy. Previous epidemiological studies have shown an association between hospitalization during pregnancy due to severe infection and the...

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Remember to ARRIVE

In 2010 the ARRIVE (Animals in Research: Reporting In Vivo Experiments) guidelines1 were proposed to address several reproducibility issues with in vivo animal model studies: Only 59% of 271 biomedical studies using rats, mice, or non-human primates that were assessed stated the hypothesis or objective of the study and the number and characteristics of the animals used (i.e., species, strain, sex, age, weight). 87% did not report...

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LEM1 C. difficile Strain Prevents Pathogenic Infection

Researchers at Georgia State University made a surprising discovery1 while establishing a mouse model of C. difficile infection: a novel, endogenous strain of the bacteria which blooms after antibiotic therapy and protects its host from disease. This could potentially confound experimental results, as the LEM1 strain is inconsistently present among mouse model vendors. C. difficile Genes Appearing Prior to Infection To establish their model, the researchers treated...

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