A simple cage-autonomous method for the maintenance of the barrier status of germ-free mice during experimentation

Lab Anim. 2014 Oct;48(4):292-7. doi: 10.1177/0023677214544728. Epub 2014 Aug 5.


The use of germ-free (GF) isolators for microbiome-related research is exponentially increasing, yet limited by its cost, isolator size and potential for trans-contamination. As such, current isolator technology is highly limiting to researchers engaged in short period experiments involving multiple mouse strains and employing a variety of mono-inoculated microorganisms. In this study, we evaluate the use of positive pressure Isocages as a solution for short period studies (days to 2-3 weeks) of experimentation with GF mice at multiple simultaneous conditions. We demonstrate that this new Isocage technology is cost-effective and room-sparing, and enables maintenance of multiple simultaneous groups of GF mice. Using this technology, transferring GF mice from isolators to Isocage racks for experimentation, where they are kept under fully germ-free conditions, enables parallel inoculation with different bacterial strains and simultaneous experimentation with multiple research conditions. Altogether, the new GF Isocage technology enables the expansion of GF capabilities in a safe and cost-effective manner that can facilitate the growth, elaboration and flexibility of microbiome research.

Keywords: Isocage; germ-free mice.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animal Husbandry / economics
  • Animal Husbandry / methods*
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Germ-Free Life
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Time Factors