Time to include the gut microbiota in the hygienic standardisation of laboratory rodents

Comp Immunol Microbiol Infect Dis. 2012 Mar;35(2):81-92. doi: 10.1016/j.cimid.2011.12.006. Epub 2012 Jan 16.


The gut microbiota (GM) composition and its impact on animal experiments has become currently dramatically relevant in our days: (1) recent progress in metagenomic technologies, (2) the availability of large scale quantitative analyses to characterize even subtle phenotypes, (3) the limited diversity of laboratory rodent GM due to strict barriers at laboratory animal vendors, and (4) the availability of up to 300.000 different transgenic mouse strains from different sources displaying a huge variety in their GM composition. In this review the GM is described as a variable in animal experiments which need to be reduced for scientific as well as ethical reasons, and strategies how to implement this in routine diagnostic procedures are proposed. We conclude that we have both enough information available to state that the GM has an essential impact on animal models, as well as the methods available to start dealing with these impacts.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Humans
  • Hygiene / standards
  • Intestines / microbiology*
  • Laboratory Animal Science / standards*
  • Metagenome*
  • Mice
  • Rodentia / microbiology*