AALAS Webinar: Gut Microbiota: Variability and Translatability in Rodent Models

The gut microbiota (GM) is the collection of commensal microorganisms that occupy the intestinal tracts of animal species. In the past few decades, technologies to define and analyze these complex communities have advanced greatly and are now readily available and cost-effective. Of importance to the biomedical research community is the growing wealth of data showing marked variation of GM among contemporary rodent colonies and the many environmental factors that can influence GM composition. More importantly, such differences have been associated with changes in model phenotypes ranging from models of intestinal to neurologic disease. This has resulted in concerns about the role of GM in model reproducibility. While in some cases, individual species of bacteria, such as segmented filamentous bacteria or species of Helicobacter, have been implicated in phenotype changes, current challenges center on how complex interactions among bacterial communities can influence model phenotypes and reproducibility. Moreover, the translatability of laboratory rodent GM has recently been scrutinized. To this end, pet store and wild mice, which are exposed to more antigen-laden environments when compared to their laboratory counterparts, are colonized by GMs that contribute to more translatable immune system development. The latter can lead to marked differences in disease model phenotypes. This webinar will summarize our current understanding of the role of GM in model reproducibility and translatability as well as the many challenges now confronting the laboratory animal community.
Wednesday, March 18, 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm
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