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Culture-independent Profiling of the Fecal Microbiome to Identify Microbial Species Associated with a Diarrheal Outbreak in Immunocompromised Mice

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Immunocompromised mice are used frequently in biomedical research, in part because they accommodate the engraftment and study of primary human cells within a mouse model; however, these animals are susceptible to opportunistic infections and require special husbandry considerations. In 2015, an outbreak marked by high morbidity but low mortality swept through a colony of immunocompromised mice; this outbreak rapidly affected 75% of the colony and ultimately required complete depopulation of the barrier suite. Conventional microbiologic and molecular diagnostics were unsuccessful in determining the cause; therefore, we explored culture-independent methods to broadly profile the microbial community in the feces of affected animals. This approach identified 4 bacterial taxa— Candidatus Arthromitus, Clostridium celatum, Clostridiales bacterium VE202-01, and Bifidobacterium pseudolongum strain PV8-2— that were significantly enriched in the affected mice. Based on these results, specific changes were made to the animal husbandry procedures for immunocompromised mice. This case report highlights the utility of culture-independent methods in laboratory animal diagnostics.
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Document Type: Case Report

Affiliations: 1: Department of Pathobiology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 2: Comparative Medicine, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida 3: Department of Pathobiology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Comparative Medicine, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida 4: Stem Cell and Xenograft Core, School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 5: Department of Pathobiology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania;, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 01 August 2018

This article was made available online on 13 June 2018 as a Fast Track article with title: "Culture-independent Profiling of the Fecal Microbiome to Identify Microbial Species Associated with a Diarrheal Outbreak in Immunocompromised Mice".

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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