The volume of published studies employing axenic or germ-free mice increased dramatically over the past 15 years, in part due to growing interest in microbiome research. As germ-free mouse model studies gain relevance, so does the importance of establishing best practices while researchers start and maintain research colonies.
Today, we'll address eight of the most frequently-asked questions regarding axenic mouse colony best practices.
1. Can Germ-Free Mice be Maintained in Individually Ventilated Cages?
It is generally accepted that germ-free mice can be maintained for short durations in individually ventilated cages, however isolators should be used for maintaining the germ-free health standard for longer studies or for breeding projects.
2. How Do I Plan My First Germ-Free Mouse Study?
Frank Razzaboni, from Park Bioservices, discusses axenic mouse study design in video below, from planning a successful germ-free project to vendor selection for required resources and components.
3. What Types of Monitoring are Required to Maintain Germ-Free Isolators?
Dr. Paula Roesch reviews monitoring of newly set up isolators, supplies, and testing post-animal entry.
4. What is the best method for testing prior to adding animals to the isolators?
As part of our Germ-Free Pilot program, Taconic Biosciences often hosts investigators on-site at our facility to review procedures in maintaining axenic mice. As a best practice, try a pilot study to assess your germ-free technique prior to starting a large cohort.
5. How Do I Test Isolators for Leaks?
In this video, Park Bioservices' Frank Razzaboni, demonstrates three methods for testing isolators for leaks.
6. How Many Mice Can Be Shipped in a Germ-Free Shipper?
Taconic can fit up to three 11.5″ x 7.5 ″ x 5″ cages into each germ-free shipper. The number of animals per shipper will vary based on animal age, so review the packing densities and other details of the germ-free shipper.
7. What's the Best Way to Transfer Axenic Mice Into Isolators?