Microbiome and Germ-Free INSIGHTS

New Research on Maintaining Complex Gut Microbiota in Mouse Models

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Figure 1: Experimental design used to generate CD1 mice with four different gut microbiota (GM) profiles. Schematic diagram showing embryo transfer scheme used to rederive CD1 mice to C57BL/6J GMJAX, C67BL/6NTacGMTAC, Crl:CD1GMCRL, and HSD:ICRGMHSD surrogate dams. At maturity, offspring were mated using an outbred mating scheme within each GM profile and maintained as four separate breeding colonies for nine generations. An increased interest in studies involving the...  Read More

Introduction to Translational Microbiome Research Infographic

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Download Taconic Biosciences' new infographic, Translational Microbiome at a Glance, for valuable insights into the translational aspects of microbiome research. Intended for those just beginning their work, Translational Microbiome at a Glance covers critical introductory subjects such as: The six factors that shape the mouse microbiome — and study endpoints Disease associations that can impact experimental performance Investment and intellectual property status Applications of germ-free mice in...  Read More

Limitations of Feces as Proxy for Gut Microbiota

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A myriad of factors can influence the gut microbiota composition of laboratory rats and mice: diet, stress, circadian rhythm, vendor source, how they are housed, and more. Since different gut microbiota compositions can elicit different phenotypes under otherwise similar experimental conditions, understanding what shapes the rodent microbiome is becoming increasingly important for researchers. Husbandry-Induced Microbiome Effects The husbandry of laboratory animals is highly variable between facilities. Different...  Read More

Feed Your Gut Microbiota for Improved Health

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Humanized microbiota Swiss Webster mice infected with C. difficile efficiently clear the pathogen when maintained on a diet with microbiota-accessible carbohydrates (MAC+), but remain persistently infected when on a MAC-deficient diet (MD1, MD2). Switching from a MAC-deficient diet promotes rapid pathogen clearance. Figure from Hryckowian et al.1 Clostridium difficile is a significant source of infectious disease death in the United States, and C. difficile infection can be...  Read More

Diets High in Salt May Increase Sensitivity to Autoimmune Disease through Microbiome Alteration

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High salt diets have previously been shown to increase severity of certain types of induced autoimmune disease in mouse models via a signaling pathway, but the impact of these diets on the gut microbiome and intestinal inflammation have not been studied. Researchers at McMaster University recently investigated this question in a paper titled "High salt diet exacerbates colitis in mice by decreasing Lactobacillus levels and butyrate production"...  Read More

New Resource for Gnotobiotics Research

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Growth in Gnotobiotics Research in gnotobiotic rodents and other animal models is a growing field. The rise in microbiome studies is likely responsible for this increase. This gnotobiotic renaissance has fueled exponential growth in the number of institutions operating or making plans for gnotobiotic facilities and a demand for more education. The non-profit organization, the Association for Gnotobiotics, is answering this need for gnotobiotic knowledge by publishing...  Read More

Commensal Microbes May Initiate and Drive Immune Responses in Lupus

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Spontaneous lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic autoimmune disease with an unclear cause. Nearly all lupus patients have high levels of anti-nuclear antibodies with a relatively high proportion being pathogenic anti-Ro protein antibodies. At the end of March, researchers at Yale University published a paper entitled "Commensal orthologs of the human autoantigen Ro60 as triggers of autoimmunity in lupus" in the journal Science Translational Medicine in which...  Read More

Non-Antibiotic Drugs Impact the Human Gut Microbiota

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A new study in Nature, published in March 2018, revealed novel potential adverse effects of a broad variety of marketed drugs. The researchers found that many drugs designed to target human cells and not microbes could inhibit the growth of different intestinal bacterial strains. This suggests that these drugs can alter the gut microbiota, in turn leading to adverse effects on human health. The study was an...  Read More

Gender-Dependent Impacts of Herbicides on the Microbiome

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It is heavily debated whether the use of the weedkiller glyphosate in agriculture and gardening can induce dysbiosis of the gut microbiota, negatively affecting human and animal health. Dysbiosis is an imbalance in the microbiome composition associated with conditions such as colitis, metabolic syndrome, allergies, and more. Herbicides and the Microbiome We recently highlighted new Danish research showing that pure glyphosate and commercial formulations of glyphosate (e.g....  Read More

Microbiome Cycles Revealed by Low-Cost Gnotobiotic Cages

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While developing a low-cost alternative to traditional gnotobiotic isolators, a team of researchers at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) were able to characterize cyclical changes in the microbiomes of gnotobiotic mice. Their research has implications for both the design and affordability of gnotobiotic animal model research. High Cost of Gnotobiotic Isolators Isolators are the gold standard for rearing germ-free mice, but it is sometimes difficult to justify...  Read More