Germ-Free & Gnotobiotic Mouse Facilities

The germ-free mouse resource at the University of Michigan is directed by Dr. Kathryn Eaton. Mice are housed in soft-sided plastic isolators, in which they remain free of all bacteria, exogenous viruses, fungi, and parasites, as determined by regular fecal monitoring and periodic control necropsies.

Mouse Isolation Chamber

Germ-free breeding colonies of mice are maintained in this facility, and experimental isolators are used to maintain the germ-free or gnotobiotic status of the mice during experiments.

For colonization studies, 5-week-old germ-free mice can be inoculated with a suspension of a specific microbe (mono-colonization), a defined finite group of microbes, or a polymicrobial mixture.

These defined microbial populations are regularly established and used in our gnotobiotic facility to conventionalize germ-free mice such that conventionalized microbiota retains its similarity to the donor inoculum microbiota.

Recharge services for use of the Germ-Free Colony are available. Current mouse strains:

  • C57BL/6J
  • Swiss Webster
  • IL-10 KO (C57BL/6 background)
  • RAG KO (C57BL/6 background)

Other strains or mutants can be derived into germ free isolators for an additional charge.

The germ-free laboratory colony has four large breeding isolators to maintain strains. In addition, 12 experimental isolators and 7 class II biological cabinets are available to investigators on a first-come, first-served basis for experimental use.

If you would like to request services in the germ-free laboratory, contact ULAM, the Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine.