MICROBIOME AND GERM-FREE INSIGHTS


Rise in Usage of Germ-Free Mice

Germ-free mice are not new. Taconic Biosciences first started raising germ-free mice in 1960, after learning axenic husbandry techniques from the Laboratories of Bacteriology at the University of Notre Dame (LOBUND), where the first germ-free facility was established. Researchers have been using germ-free rodents since the '60s, producing a steady level of publications ...until recently. The use of germ-free animals in research grew dramatically within the last...

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Does the Microbiome Impact Neurological Diseases like Stroke and Seizure?

Cerebral cavernous malformation (CCM) is a type of brain lesion in which normal tissue is displaced by collections of abnormal capillaries which are prone to leakage. CCM bleeding can cause strokes, seizures, and other neurologic deficits. The only current treatment for CCM is surgical removal. What causes this anatomical abnormality? The familial form has been linked to mutations in several genes, and sporadic cases may be linked...

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Yeast Worsens Disease in a Mouse Model of Colitis

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a disorder of the gastrointestinal tract which includes Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. In general, the majority of studies looking at the role of the human gut microbiome have focused on bacterial members. However, fungi are estimated to comprise 0.1% of the intestinal microbiota1, and elevated levels of anti-Saccharomyces cerevisiae antibodies (ASCAs) have been detected in the serum of Crohn's disease patients,...

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Working Towards Microbiome Research Standards

Microbiome research continues at an amazing pace, but labs around the world are racing ahead with few agreed-upon standards. This makes communication difficult and may undermine reproducibility. Growing Call for Microbiome Standards There are groups advocating for common standards, such as The Microbiome Coalition, and the subject frequently comes up at scientific conferences. In 2015, Julian R. Marchesi and Jacques Ravel published a paper suggesting a standard...

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The Real Impact of Rodent Diet on Microbiome and Gut Health Research Webinar Q&A

Dr. Michael Pellizzon of Research Diets, Inc., recently presented a webinar on the underappreciated impact of rodent diets on microbiome and gut health research, where simple husbandry decisions can profoundly affect both animal model phenotypes and experimental outcomes. Due to time constraints, many of the questions submitted during the webinar went unanswered. We present a full Q&A here. Impact of Purified Diets Dr. Michael Pellizzon (MP): Yes....

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Review of 3rd Annual Translational Microbiome Conference

This year was the 3rd year of the Translational Microbiome Conference held in Boston, Massachusetts. Boston is a major hub of microbiome research in academia, biotech, and pharma industries. This conference draws attendees from around the world who all want to better understand how the microbiome can be harnessed to improve human health. New this year were workshops held the day before the general sessions began. One...

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Selecting Donors for Fecal Microbiota Transplantation

While fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) is viewed as a relatively inexpensive and safe method for treating recurring Clostridium difficile infection and other maladies in humans, FMT is not without its challenges, particularly with regard to the screening and selection of fecal donors. In a recent Gut Microbes publication, Woodworth et al. discussed current challenges pertaining to FMT for human use1. The authors evaluate current recommendations for selection...

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A First-Person Account of the Microbiome Revolution

Segmented filamentous bacteria (SFB) in the terminal ileum of an 8-week-old Taconic B6 mouse In a new commentary article in Cell Host & Microbe, Ivaylo Ivanov provides a first-person account of the discovery that microbiota composition affects immune system development and response. Ten years after the first studies showing that development of Th17 cells were regulated by the microbiome, Ivanov details how those discoveries were made. As...

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Probiotics and Animal Health

It's common knowledge that the microbiome is a hot area of biomedical research, with pharma and biotech placing big bets on microbiome therapeutics. But did you know that microbiome research and probiotics are also of interest to the animal health and agriculture markets? Farmers routinely treat livestock with low-dose antibiotics to promote growth, but that practice has been widely criticized as leading to the development of antimicrobial...

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Experimental Impacts of Stress and Microbiome

Exposure to stressful situations is difficult to avoid in the life of the laboratory mouse, but study design rarely accounts for the phenotypic effects of stress and the microbiome. Inevitable events and procedures, such as transportation, handling, and restraint, are known to induce stress in mice. Usually the stress response is transient and stabilizes within a period of time. The time until stabilization depends upon many things,...

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