Bacterial species to be considered in quality assurance of mice and rats
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AbstractBacteria are relevant in rodent quality assurance programmes if (a) the animals are at risk and (b) presence in the animals makes a difference for animal research or welfare, for example because the agent regulates clinical disease progression or impacts its host in other ways. Furthermore, zoonoses are relevant. Some bacterial species internationally recommended for the health monitoring of rats and mice, that is, Citrobacter rodentium, Corynebacterium kutscheri, Salmonella spp. and Streptococcus pneumonia, are no longer found in either laboratory or pet shop rats or mice, while there is still a real risk of impact on animal research and welfare from Filobacterium rodentium, Clostridium piliforme, Mycoplasma spp., Helicobacter spp. and Rodentibacter spp., while Streptobacillus moniliformis may be considered a serious zoonotic agent in spite of a very low risk. Modern molecular techniques have revealed that there may, depending on the research type, be equally good reasons for knowing the colony status of some commensal bacteria that are essential for the induction of specific rodent models, such as Alistipes spp., Akkermansia muciniphila, Bifidobacterium spp., Bacteroides fragilis, Bacteroides vulgatus, Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, Prevotella copri and segmented filamentous bacteria. In future, research groups should therefore consider the presence or absence of a short list of defined bacterial species relevant for their models. This list can be tested by cost-effective sequencing or even a simple multiple polymerase chain reaction approach, which is likely to be cost-neutral compared to more traditional screening methods.