Short-term microbiome studies might not require isolators

Posted by: | September 16, 2023 | Comments

Submitted By: Dr. Martin Toft, Taconic Biosciences:

It seems it just got easier to do microbiome studies in rodents – at least short term experiments. In the September issue of Laboratory animals, Hecht el al (Link 1) reported the successful germ-free housing of mice in individually ventilated cages (IVC) for up to 3 weeks. The system used is the Isocage from Tecniplast (Link 2), which is a high level biocontainment/bioexclusion version of the traditional IVC-technology. Based on the results, the housing methodology proved capable of providing axenic conditions while placed in the rack, but the handling of cages and animals obviously is a much more sensitive process when performed in a hood. Nevertheless, proper aseptic cage-changing procedures can be performed and the findings prove that alternatives to isolator housing are available when performing short-term studies requiring germ-free conditions.

Significant additional benefits include increased flexibility and decreased cost. It also means that facilities without isolator capabilities can now consider microbiome experimentation in rodents as germ-free animals! Resources to support this effort can be obtained from external sources; see Link 3.

Link 1: Link to abstract: Sage
Link 2: Link to be posted on the Resources-Services page: tecniplast
Link 3: Link Resources-Services page Translational Microbiome




  • Jim Vitale

    This is a significant step in enabling more labs to enter microbiome research or enable labs to extend their resources by reducing cost of housing for such studies. Are there other groups who have done similar studies, perhaps not published, that are using IVC caging to house either germ free mice or short term microbiome association studies? It would be great to hear from you to see how extensive this technology is being used.

  • Arlaine Amoyo-Brion

    Hi! We are considering to adapt this system soon, hopefully it does work well. But, I believe it’s very much different from the regular IVC as it is hermetically sealed and mice will only survive for about 15 minutes when take out of the rack. We did try using ordinary IVC cage to house germ free mice and after a few days, contamination occured. Yes, I agree, this is a good addition to microbiome studies in rodents!



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