Modern mice pose a challenge for medical research

June 12, 2012

The environment in which laboratory mice are reared can drastically alter the results of experiments and may have major implications for medical research around the world, according to new Australian data presented today at a meeting of The International Behavioral Neuroscience Society.

Mice have traditionally been housed in open cages where pheromones, in urine, and sounds could be exchanged between animals across cages.

Modern housing is based on a system of individually ventilated cages that block sounds and micro-filter the air entering each cage.

Dr. Tim Karl, at Australia, is studying the effects of open cages versus individually ventilated cages on the of genetically altered mice used in schizophrenia research (neuregulin 1 ).

“Our research so far shows that keeping mice in individually ventilated cages affects the way genes impact upon schizophrenia-like behaviour, making these mice less valid for schizophrenia research”, says Dr. Karl.

“Furthermore, animals housed in individually ventilated cages respond differentially from mice reared in open cages when given psychotropic drugs and this will have important consequences for pharmacological experiments.”

“The bulk of medical research is done using genetically altered mice. Ours is the first study to show an impact of this new housing form on a genetic mouse model for brain disorders and highlights the need for caution when comparing data between labs that house mice differently”, Dr. Karl concluded.

Laboratory rodents such as mice and rats are widely used in studies of diseases, drug research and patterns of thinking and problem-solving because they are easy to breed, can be altered genetically, and the outcomes of experiments can be extrapolated to explain certain patterns in humans.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

High-fat diet starves the brain

April 29, 2016

A high-fat diet of three days in mice leads to a reduction in the amount of glucose that reaches the brain. This finding was reported by a Research Group led by Jens Brüning, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Metabolism ...

A vitamin that stops the aging process of organs

April 28, 2016

Nicotinamide riboside (NR) is pretty amazing. It has already been shown in several studies to be effective in boosting metabolism. And now a team of researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Integrated Systems Physiology (LISP), ...

Lifestyle has a strong impact on intestinal bacteria

April 28, 2016

Everything you eat or drink affects your intestinal bacteria, and is likely to have an impact on your health. That is the finding of a large-scale study led by RUG/UMCG geneticist Cisca Wijmenga into the effect of food and ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.