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Lab Mice in Medical Experiments Might Influence Findings for Being Too Clean [VIDEO]

Update Date: Apr 05, 2017 07:14 AM EDT
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A recent research has scientists pointing out that lab mice in medical experiments might just be way too clean. Since these mice live in very hygienic conditions, the findings of the immune system's medical studies might be influenced.

Immunologists Lili Tao and Tiffany Reese from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre wrote in their study that mice used in researches live in extremely clean conditions. However, that is not the case for humans.

Different Living Conditions of Mice and Humans

Throughout a person's life, they are exposed to different types of pathogens that are adapted to the immune system. With that, vaccines are made possible and microbiomes are studied further to understand how microorganisms can impact one's health, as reported in the ScienceAlert.

Even though microbiomes also alter the immune system of lab mice in medical experiments, there is still a significant difference when it comes to their controlled environment. Using the specific pathogen-free (SPF) approach, the rodents live in conditions that are free from infection, germs, bacteria and the like.

Because of that, the researchers have raised the "increasing concern over the utility of mouse models." And since humans do not live in such sterile conditions, findings of experiments with the SPF-bred mouse might be influenced when applied to human medical studies.

Exploration of Other Approaches

The researchers are not proposing to eradicate the use of mice raised with the SPF approach, though. What they suggest is to widen the exposure of the mice to some germs.

One approach they proposed is co-housing the lab mice with pet store mice. Moreover, various studies have been exploring other approaches that will be used best for lab animals.

For instance, a study published in Scientific Reports recommends picking up a mouse through an acrylic handling tunnel or cupping the palm gently instead of picking them up by their tails. This is especially significant for rodents used in behavioral tests to reduce stress and anxiety that may influence performance results.

As of now, it is inevitable to use animals in studies and researches. However, scientists are making sure that every lab mice in medical experiments count by understanding them better too.

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