Care for laboratory animals during COVID-19 crisis
Disaster Planning and Research Continuity in Responsible Animal Research
Disaster preparedness for research facilities can be a daunting task. The purpose of this review is to introduce basic preparedness concepts and terminology so that facilities may begin to develop customized plans for their specific needs. Regulatory requirements are reviewed and an overview of the Incident Command System, National Preparedness System Planning Frameworks, and fundamental terms is provided. Important concepts for successful planning are then explored. Good planning involves fostering a culture of preparedness, resilience, and understanding the interactions and partnerships with other groups that are essential for core functions and incident response. Methods to gain institutional support and set up an advisory committee are examined in detail. Next, the steps to develop and carry out a plan are outlined. Risk assessments using an all hazards approach and tools such as risk indices and risk matrices are explained, and tips to design and test plans, train personnel, and evaluate improvement are discussed. Finally, special challenges unique to animal research facilities are considered along with ways to address them. Examples and information are drawn from a wide variety of organizations both to underscore themes common to all preparedness plans and to introduce new concepts that may be adapted for use in research institutions.
Disaster Planning for Animals in Hazardous Agent Containment Units
Disaster response planning for laboratory animal facilities is a time- and personnel-intensive undertaking. This article outlines numerous considerations in formulating a plan for disaster response in a high containment animal unit. The planning process is discussed around a set of elements: planning team formation, situational understanding, goal and objective determination, plan development, preparation, and rehearsal or implementation. The importance of an appropriate planning team and personnel development is explored in relationship to exemplary disaster scenarios such as natural disaster and terrorism. Specific risks such as hazardous agent and animal species type serve to delineate goal-setting methods. These goals provide the framework for an institutional disaster plan. The review further uses elements of the planning process to explore the difficulties of euthanasia of animals treated with hazardous agents. Ultimately, the pitfalls of handling media relations following disaster are examined. Proactive measures for preparing to speak to the media and mitigate negative perceptions of research are presented.
Emergency planning: Be prepared
Fecal Corticosterone Levels in RCAN1 Mutant Mice
Regulator of calcineurin 1 (RCAN1) is related to the expression of human neurologic disorders such as Down syndrome, Alzheimer disease, and chromosome 21q deletion syndrome. We showed here that RCAN1-knockout mice exhibit reduced innate anxiety as indicated by the elevated-plus maze. To examine whether glucocorticoids contribute to this phenotype, we measured fecal corticosterone in male wildtype and RCAN1-knockout mice and in male and female transgenic mice with neuronal overexpression of RCAN1 (Tg-RCAN1(TG)). We found no difference in fecal corticosterone levels of RCAN1-knockout mice and their wildtype littermates. As expected, we found differences between sexes in fecal corticosterone levels. In addition, we found higher levels of excreted corticosterone in Tg-RCAN1(TG) female mice as compared with female wildtype mice. Our data indicate normal diurnal corticosterone production in RCAN1 mutant mice and do not suggest a causal role in either the cognitive or anxiety phenotypes exhibited by RCAN1-knockout mice.
Fertility after homologous prepubertal testis transplantation in the dog
Canine models of hereditary human diseases are widely used throughout the biomedical community, particularly when no suitable rodent model exists. In several models, the homozygote dogs die prior to puberty, or have substantially reduced fertility. Prepubertal transplantation of the testes was used to propagate the genotype of a mutant dog that would not otherwise have survived until puberty. The transplant recipient remained fertile 7 years postoperatively. To begin determining the factors necessary for successful function in testis transplants, prepubertal dogs that were dog leukocyte antigen (DLA) identical and disparate were examined for fertility and compared to the original transplant recipient as well as unoperated and sham-operated dogs. Immunosuppression was maintained with cyclosporine (CyA) and prednisone in the immediate postoperative period and CyA alone thereafter. The DLA-identical dogs demonstrated initial acceptance of the transplant, whereas one of two underwent chronic rejection. Both DLA-disparate dogs had subacute rejection prior to sexual maturity. These results demonstrate that homologous transplantation of prepubertal testes can be an effective method to preserve genotype in DLA-identical dogs. This model may also be useful for studying testis development and immunobiology
Pregnancy following homologous prepubertal ovarian transplantation in the dog
ABSTRACT: In several canine models of hereditary human disease the homozygote dogs die prior to puberty, or have substantially reduced fertility. To create a clinically healthy animal that can be bred, but can also transmit the gene of interest, a model of homologous ovarian transplantation in prepubertal dogs was developed. Six dog leukocyte antigen (DLA) identical littermates underwent transplantation of ovarian cortical strips (n = 2) or the entire ovary (n = 4). Immunosuppression was maintained with cyclosporine and MMF in the immediate post-operative period and cyclosporine alone thereafter. All 6 dogs entered puberty and normal semiannual estrus cycles as demonstrated by both physical changes and increasing serum progesterone. Four dogs were bred to a proven stud male, and one became pregnant. Three viable fetuses with observable heartbeats were detected on ultrasound examination. Although the dog eventually aborted the litter, this work represents the first pregnancy achieved following a prepubertal ovarian transplant in the dog
Investigation of appropriate sanitization frequency for rodent caging accessories: evidence supporting less-frequent cleaning
The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals states that sanitization of caging accessories (for example, filter tops and wire-bar lids) should be done every 2 wk. In this study we tested the hypothesis that organic contamination measured by the presence of ATP associated with organic material (measured with luciferase test swabs) and the number of bacterial colony-forming units (as determined by use of replicate organism detection and counting plates) on caging accessories did not differ significantly at 2 wk versus several months of use. The study evaluated 4 groups: mouse and rat ventilated and static wire-bar cages with or without filter tops (n = 10 per group). The cages were evaluated at several time points from 2 wk to 6 mo. For every cage type, ATP levels did not differ significantly between 14 and 90 d and, in most cases, between 14 and 180 d. In addition the number of bacterial colonies did not differ significantly between 14 and 120 d (and, in some cases, between 14 and 180 d). This study provides data relevant to establishing a validated frequency for sanitization of rodent caging accessories while controlling, and potentially decreasing, costs associated with sanitization
Cross-fostering in combination with ivermectin therapy: a method to eradicate murine fur mites
A colony of mutant mice with sickle cell anemia was infested with the fur mites Myocoptes musculinus and Myobia musculi. Pups of sickle-cell phenotype obtained by cesarean section prior to natural birth were of such poor vigor that none survived the combined insults of delivery by hysterectomy and cross-fostering. Consequently, surgical rederivation, the most reliable means of mite eradication, was not an option. Because furless mice are not susceptible to mite infestation and because neonates putatively remain free of mites until 4 to 5 days after birth, pups born by natural delivery were cross-fostered within 0 to 36 h to outbred lactating females treated once with ivermectin (2 mg/kg topically) at the time of transfer and housed in filter-top cages. Cross-fostering in conjunction with topical ivermectin administered to weaned mice one or more times at approximate 9-day intervals beginning on the day of weaning was successful in reliably eradicating mites. In addition, the 58% postnatal survivability of pups cross-fostered to dams given ivermectin was equivalent to that of natural-born pups that were reared by their untreated biological mothers
Multiple vaginal exposures to low doses of R5 simian-human immunodeficiency virus: strategy to study HIV preclinical interventions in nonhuman primates
A nonhuman-primate model of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection that more closely emulates human heterosexual transmission by use of multiple exposures to low doses of virus is critical to better evaluate intervention strategies that include microbicides or vaccines. In this report, we describe such a system that uses female pig-tailed macaques exposed vaginally to a CCR5-using simian-human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV(SF162P3)) at weekly intervals. Results of dose-titration experiments indicated that 3 once-weekly exposures to 10 tissue culture infectious doses of SHIV(SF162P3) resulted in consistent transmission of virus and establishment of systemic infection. The efficacy of cellulose acetate phthalate (CAP) as a vaginal microbicide was evaluated by applying it to the vaginal vault of macaques (n = 4) 15 min before each weekly exposure to SHIV(SF162P3). One conclusion that can be drawn from the data derived from multiple exposures to virus is that CAP prevented infection in 12 of 13 possible chances for infection, over the course of 39 total exposures. Our findings provide a basis to refine monkey models for transmission of HIV-1, which may be relevant to preclinical evaluation for therapeutic interventions