Modern production of laboratory animals

Published on February 11, 2015   48 min

Other Talks in the Series: Animal Models in Biomedical Research

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Welcome to this lecture on Modern Production Methodologies of Laboratory Animals. My name is Martin Fitzner Toft, and I have over 10 years of experience in large-scale commercial breeding of mice and rats.
Looking at breeding mice and rats, it should be fairly simple, as depicted here. So the short version is that you bring a male and female together, you turn off the light, and something happens. And all of a sudden, you have a lot of pups. But that's only the short version.
If we're looking at how laboratory animals are used, they are very complex machines actually, or equipment. So if we're looking at the researchers' needs in a more generic way, what are they looking for? They're looking for correction and exact results, reproducible results. They would like to have high sensitivity and specificity. It should be a documented technique, or methodology. And they want predictive results. And if you're looking at that-- and that's actually regardless of the species used-- those are highly influenced by microbial and genetic quality when using laboratory animals. So that's what I will spend some time on during this lecture. Naturally, with my background, it's highly focused on mine and rats, which are also the species most commonly used for research. But, many of the aspects that I mentioned here is also applicable to other laboratory species to varying degrees.
If we're starting with first looking at the microbial quality, this is just an example. This is mouse hepatitis virus, also known as MHV. It's coronavirus. And on the left, you see some histopathological changes as a result of MHV. But those are only the direct effects on the animals. If we're looking at other areas where mouse hepatitis virus might interfere with research, it is known that it severely effects the immune system, resulting in a chronic immunodepression. It also alters the hepatic enzyme activity, which naturally, if you're looking at pharmical metabolomics, you have a problem if the enzyme activity is not normal. You can see procoagulant activity, anemia, leukopenia, and thrombocytopenia. It also increases the susceptibility to other pathogens as a result of the chronic immunodepression. It even can cause a rejection of xenograft tumors. But it can actually also be a disease model. So it's very important that, when you're looking at microbial quality in the animals, that you know which agents are there and how they might affect your research.