Microbiome and Germ-Free INSIGHTS

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

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

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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...  Read More

Remember to ARRIVE

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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...  Read More

LEM1 C. difficile Strain Prevents Pathogenic Infection

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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...  Read More

Baby Formula Feeding and the Infant Microbiome

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Breastfeeding versus formula feeding of infants can be a controversial subject. Those who believe the "breast is best" may be interested in a new study which reports that components in infant formula modify the establishment of a baby's gut microbiota. How Formula Affects the Infant Microbiome Earlier research has shown that gut microbiome varies between formula-fed and breast-fed infants. Now, researchers from the Technical University of Denmark...  Read More

Are Dirty Mice Superior Immunology Models?

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In a recent review article, David Masopust and his coauthors from the University of Minnesota Medical School discuss the relevancy of mouse models for use in immunological studies and translatability of immune system studies using SPF mice. Of Mice, Dirty Mice, and Men: Using Mice to Understand Human Immunology1 provides a short introduction to the development of the laboratory mouse while calling out a number of significant...  Read More