The effect of 2 different housing systems on germ-free mice colonized with a complex gut microbiota

Randi Lundberg, Martin Fitzner Toft, Benjamin August, Martin Iain Bahl, Tine Rask Licht, Axel Kornerup Hansen

Research output: Contribution to journalConference abstract in journalResearchpeer-review


Translational animal models are essential prerequisites in exploring functions and causality of the microbiome in human health and disease. Animal models targeted at microbiome research can be germ-free mice inoculated either with a monoculture or with defined (gnotobiotic) or undefined bacterial communities of varying complexity. Traditionally, gnotobiotic mice are housed in isolators, which is costly both in labor and footprint. With rigorous cage handling procedures, it is possible to maintain mice germ-free in individually ventilated cages (IVCs) for shorter periods of weeks or a few months, but there is a lack of knowledge on the stability of complex bacterial communities in IVCs. Germ-free SW mice were inoculated with a complex murine microbiota, housed in an isolator or in IVCs and bred for two generations, corresponding to a time course of 5 months. The gut microbiota was characterized by 16S ribosomal RNA sequencing, and the community structure of the different generations was compared to the inoculum to see the effect of housing and time on the relative bacterial abundances and the appearance of contaminants and their ability to change the overall community picture. The results indicate that the stability over time is as good in IVCs as in the isolator, but that both the isolator housed mice and IVC mice differ slightly from the inoculum. The possibility of keeping a complex microbiota stable over time without using strict gnotobiotic techniques is discussed. The work was funded by Taconic Biosciences and Innovation Fund Denmark. The project is a collaboration between Taconic Biosciences, University of Copenhagen and the 3G Centre (Gut, Grain and Greens).
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)663-664
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Event66th AALAS National Meeting 2015 - Phoenix, United States
Duration: 1 Nov 20155 Nov 2015
Conference number: 66


Conference66th AALAS National Meeting 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited States


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