Queensland Institute of Medical Research

Suzanne Cassidy, SAF Manager / QIMR

Nude Mice in the OptiMICE Cage System

Nude mice are used by several research groups at QIMR for immunology and tumor expression studies. The use of nude mice invariably raises concern in the selection of housing to maintain the immune-compromised status of the strain.

In our experience, the nude mouse phenotype also exposes the strain to environmental obstacles which must be overcome from a closely monitored husbandry aspect.

The nude mice at QIMR are housed in the OptiMICE cage system. Prior to upgrading to the OptiMICE system we housed nude mice in static micro-isolator caging. In comparison of the 2 cage styles, we have found a reduction in result variables since changing to the OptiMICE system. We have also observed a decrease in skin and eye conditions for nude mice held for longer experimental periods. This must also take into consideration, the change in type of bedding now used and the decreased frequency requirements for cage changing.

We have found that environmental enrichment is an essential component when housing nude mice, importantly enrichment which allows the mouse the means to seclude itself from direct airflow.

This is particularly important to assist thermo-regulation in mice undergoing experimental procedures which impact on overall health.

It is also important to note, the nude mice are housed in an area which contains 31 OptiMICE racks and are situated amongst various other strains of mice and disease models. The structuring of husbandry procedures to maintain the immune status of the animals is taken into account by nude and other immune-compromised strains being attended to first in daily facility routines.