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Manipulating gut microbiota in germ-free and antibiotic-treated animal models in research with therapeutic goals: advantages and disadvantages
  • Fatemeh Aghighi,
  • Mahmoud Salami
Fatemeh Aghighi
Institute for Basic Science
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Mahmoud Salami

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Abstract

The gut microbiota (GM), as a forgotten organ”, refers to microbial community that resides the gastrointestinal tract that plays a critical role in a variety of physiological activities in different body organs. The GM affects its targets through neurological, metabolic, immune and endocrine pathways. The GM is a dynamic system that exogenous and endogenous factors have a negative or positive effect on its density and composition. Laboratory animals are known as only model systems for preclinical research, however, each model has its own limitations. Since the establishment of the first animals in the mid-twentieth century, until recently, various methods have been developed to produce these research models in different animals. Methodologically, two main models have used so far to explore the effects of microbiota on physiology and disease in animals. Germ-free (GF) models and antibiotic-induced intestinal dysbiosis. Both methods have strengths and weaknesses. However, recent advanced approaches have also simplified current understanding of these complex interactions. In many fields of host-microbe interactions researches GF animal models are known as appropriate experimental subjects. The use of GF animals enables the direct assessment of the role of the microbiota on all features of physiology. The animal, mainly mice, models present biological model system to either study outcomes of absence of microbes, or to verify the effects of colonization with specific and known microbial species. This paper reviews these current approaches and gives advantages and disadvantages of both models.