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

G Hecht, C Bar-Nathan, G Milite, I Alon, Y Moshe, L Greenfeld, N Dotsenko, J Suez, M Levy, C A Thaiss, H Dafni, E Elinav, A Harmelin
Laboratory Animals 2014, 48 (4): 292-7
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.

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