Routine Habitat Change: A Source of Unrecognized Transient Alteration of Intestinal Microbiota in Laboratory Mice

Betty W. Ma, Nicholas A. Bokulich, Patricia A. Castillo, Anchasa Kananurak, Mark Underwood, David A. Mills, Charles L Bevins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The mammalian intestine harbors a vast, complex and dynamic microbial population, which has profound effects on host nutrition, intestinal function and immune response, as well as influence on physiology outside of the alimentary tract. Imbalance in the composition of the dense colonizing bacterial population can increase susceptibility to various acute and chronic diseases. Valuable insights on the association of the microbiota with disease critically depend on investigation of mouse models. Like in humans, the microbial community in the mouse intestine is relatively stable and resilient, yet can be influenced by environmental factors. An often-overlooked variable in research is basic animal husbandry, which can potentially alter mouse physiology and experimental outcomes. This study examined the effects of common husbandry practices, including food and bedding alterations, as well as facility and cage changes, on the gut microbiota over a short time course of five days using three culture-independent techniques, quantitative PCR, terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (TRFLP) and next generation sequencing (NGS). This study detected a substantial transient alteration in microbiota after the common practice of a short cross-campus facility transfer, but found no comparable alterations in microbiota within 5 days of switches in common laboratory food or bedding, or following an isolated cage change in mice acclimated to their housing facility. Our results highlight the importance of an acclimation period following even simple transfer of mice between campus facilities, and highlights that occult changes in microbiota should be considered when imposing husbandry variables on laboratory animals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere47416
JournalPLoS One
Volume7
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 17 2012

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intestinal microorganisms
Microbiota
Ecosystem
mice
Physiology
habitats
cages
Animals
intestines
physiology
Intestines
acute course
Animal Husbandry
animal husbandry
Nutrition
Ports and harbors
Food
Culture Techniques
Polymorphism
chronic diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Routine Habitat Change : A Source of Unrecognized Transient Alteration of Intestinal Microbiota in Laboratory Mice. / Ma, Betty W.; Bokulich, Nicholas A.; Castillo, Patricia A.; Kananurak, Anchasa; Underwood, Mark; Mills, David A.; Bevins, Charles L.

In: PLoS One, Vol. 7, No. 10, e47416, 17.10.2012.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Ma, Betty W. ; Bokulich, Nicholas A. ; Castillo, Patricia A. ; Kananurak, Anchasa ; Underwood, Mark ; Mills, David A. ; Bevins, Charles L. / Routine Habitat Change : A Source of Unrecognized Transient Alteration of Intestinal Microbiota in Laboratory Mice. In: PLoS One. 2012 ; Vol. 7, No. 10.
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