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Pediatr Res. 2004 Aug;56(2):250-5. Epub 2004 Jun 4.

Artificial rearing of mouse pups: development of a mouse pup in a cup model.

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1
Department of Surgery, P.O. Box 100286, JHMHSC, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610, USA. beierea@surgery.ufl.edu

Abstract

Artificial rearing of rat pups has been used in the investigation of the neonatal gut. We propose to adapt the model of artificially rearing rat pups for use in mouse pups, thereby allowing the use of transgenic animals for our research. We hypothesized that gastrostomy catheters may be placed successfully into neonatal mouse pups and that the pups may be artificially reared without significant alterations in their growth or intestinal development. Gastrostomy tubes are placed into 5-d-old mouse pups [artificially reared (AR); n = 32], and the mice are fed rodent milk substitute. Littermate pups [maternally reared (MR); n = 22] are used as controls. After 5 d, pups are killed and their organs are harvested. Intestinal villus measurements, protein content, and DNA content are determined. Data are reported as mean +/- SEM, compared with appropriate statistical methods, and significance is determined at P < 0.05. Initial weights and lengths are not different between the two groups, but after 5 d, MR pups weigh more than their AR counterparts (5.0 +/- 0.13 versus 4.1 +/- 0.14 g, MR versus AR; P < 0.01). However, the pups' length and the intestinal villus height-to-width ratios, protein, and DNA content are not different between the MR and AR pups. To our knowledge, this is the first report of artificially rearing mouse pups. Development of this technique will permit nutritional manipulation in neonatal mice, a mammalian model wherein the genome is sequenced and transgenic mutants are available.

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