Microbiome and Germ-Free INSIGHTS

Gut Microbiome and the Efficacy of Cancer Immunotherapy

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Two new studies in humans published in Science in November 2017 support previous findings in mice: that response to cancer therapy is dependent on the gut microbiome1,2. This opens the possibility for researchers to explore deliberate exploitation of the microbiome in improving the efficacy of cancer therapy. While checkpoint inhibitors have been a great leap forward in the treatment of certain cancer types, only a limited portion...  Read More

Webinar Review: How to Harness the Microbiome

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Rodent model microbiomes introduce confounding effects in an alarming range of study endpoints. In a recent webinar, Aaron Ericsson, Research Assistant Professor and Director of Metagenomics at the University of Missouri, reviewed emerging best practices to identify and control for relevant microbiota, improving the accuracy and reproducibility of your preclinical research. Dr. Ericsson discussed topics ranging from how the microbiome contributes to experimental variability and reproducibility to...  Read More

How Does the Microbiome Affect Your Mouse Model?

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Lactobacillus reuterii Induces Gut Intraepithelial CD4+CD8αα+ T Cells Researchers are still determining the full effect of the gut microbiota on immune system development. The best known example being reliance of Th17 responses on the presence of segmented filamentous bacteria (SFB). This past August, researchers at Washington University published a paper titled, "Lactobacillus reuterii induces gut intraepithelial CD4+CD8αα+ T cells" in the journal, Science. The authors demonstrated another...  Read More

Hot Topics at AALAS National Meeting 2017

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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...  Read More

Foundational Gnotobiotics Concepts

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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...  Read More

Microbiome Summit Exploring Industry-Academic Partnerships

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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...  Read More

Transferring the Wild Mouse Microbiome via Fecal Microbiota Transfer

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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...  Read More

Book Review: Gnotobiotics

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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...  Read More

Moderate Exercise Has Limited but Distinguishable Effects on the Mouse Microbiome

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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...  Read More

Seeing the Microbiome with Fresh Eyes

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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...  Read More