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Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthCAAT

Animal Welfare Enhancement Awards

2009 Award Recipients

Fecal DNA for Non-Invasive Animal Genotyping
Zhidong Chen, PhD
MultiTarget Pharmaceuticals LLC

Since the establishment of transgenic (genetically modified) animals in the 1980s, their use in biomedical research has continuously increased. Currently, an estimated 5-10 million transgenic mice are generated for research each year. In order to determine if an animal has been successfully modified, a biopsy, most often a tail piece, must be taken from each animal for DNA extraction and analysis (genotyping). The animals are likely experiencing pain from the amputation and a non-invasive method for DNA extraction would be more desirable. We have developed a simple fecal DNA extraction reagent and method and we would like to demonstrate that sufficient quantity and quality of fecal DNA can be extracted from a single mouse fecal pellet for reliable and accurate animal genotyping. Such a non-invasive fecal DNA genotyping method could eliminate unnecessary pain and distress for millions of transgenic animals each year. In addition to improvement of animal welfare, this method could also benefit the transgenic research community, as it is simpler, faster, less expensive, and more convenient. It does not use organic extraction, allows repeated sampling, and the sampling is not limited by the age of the animal. Successful demonstration of this fecal DNA genotyping method would give the transgeneic research community a more humane alternative to tail clipping and could lead to its gradual adoption in the coming years.

Assessing and Supporting Basic Hemodynamic Response during General Anesthesia in the Rodent (Rat) Model
Kimberly A. Wasko, CVT
Drexel University College of Medicine, Department of Surgery, Philadelphia, PA

Abrupt physiologic changes occur to the body when general anesthesia is administered.  These changes result in a fluctuation of body temperature, blood pressure and hydration.  Improper or inadequate supportive measures during anesthesia can result in tissue and/or organ injury due to inadequate tissue oxygenation and blood supply.  In order to reduce these potentially harmful changes, the use of fluid therapy will be used in the Rat model during anesthesia.

An important goal after an anesthetic procedure is to return the animal to physiologic normality as rapidly as possible.  The administration of fluid therapy should improve hydration thus allowing the animal to tolerate these physiologic changes as well as the prevention of further drastic changes.  This will ultimately reduce discomfort/distress, dehydration and complications after the anesthetic procedure.

Four groups will comprise this animal study.   The control group will not receive anesthesia or fluid therapy.   The remaining three groups will receive gas anesthesia for equal amounts of time.  Only two of the groups, however, will receive fluid therapy by different administration routes.  Animals will be monitored closely throughout the experiment.  Upon completion of this study, the animals will be transferred to Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee approved protocols to observe the 3R’s – Reduce, Refine and Replace.

The proposed animal study will yield crucial information regarding the effects of fluid therapy following general anesthesia in a rat model.  The study will also provide significant guidance in determining the preferred routes of fluid administration during short and long-term general anesthesia procedures in rat models.