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

After a half-century of attempts, psilocybin has finally been synthesized in the lab

August 16, 2017
A team of researchers at Friedrich Schiller University Jena has figured how out to make psilocybin, the chemical responsible for creating hallucinations in people who consume the mushrooms that produce it naturally. In their ...

Using barcodes to trace cell development

August 16, 2017
How do the multiple different cell types in the blood develop? Scientists have been pursuing this question for a long time. According to the classical model, different developmental lines branch out like in a tree. The tree ...

The unexpected role of a well-known gene in creating blood

August 16, 2017
One of the first organ systems to form and function in the embryo is the cardiovascular system: in fact, this developmental process starts so early that scientists still have many unresolved questions on the origin of the ...

Researchers unlock clues to how cells move through the body

August 16, 2017
During its 120-day cycle the circulatory system transports red blood cells and nutrients throughout the human body. This system helps keep the body in balance and fight against infections and diseases by filtering old or ...

Eating habits affect skin's protection against sun

August 15, 2017
Sunbathers may want to avoid midnight snacks before catching some rays.

Chewing gum rapid test for inflammation

August 15, 2017
Dental implants occasionally entail complications. Six to 15 percent of patients develop an inflammatory response in the years after receiving a dental implant. This is caused by bacteria destroying the soft tissue and the ...

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.