Upgrading mouse health and welfare: direct benefits of a large-scale rederivation programme

M. D. Fray, A. R. Pickard, M. Harrison, M. T. Cheeseman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report the outcome of a 30-month programme to rederive 310 specific pathogen-free mouse strains to populate a new individually ventilated cage barrier facility at the Mary Lyon Centre (MLC), Medical Research Council (MRC) Harwell. The mice were rederived in a self-contained quarantine suite and embryo-recipient females were health-screened to assess microbiological status, before moving their offspring into the new facility. The MLC currently houses approximately 49,000 mice in about 9750 cages and we have 30 months of follow-up health screen data. Embryo rederivation and hysterectomy have high safety margins; however, the precaution of performing the programme in isolators facilitated the containment and decontamination of two mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) infection outbreaks. Rederivation of the colony has eliminated endemic MHV, mouse adenovirus type 2 (MAV-2), Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus, pinworms, intestinal protozoa, Pasteurella pneumotropica, Helicobacter spp. and mites. The improvements in microbiological status have had notable benefits for mouse health and welfare and the science at MRC Harwell. Previously important clinical entities such as sudden death associated with lactation ileus in C3H/HeH mice, early weight loss associated with inflammatory bowel disease in B6-TgN(HDexon1)61Gpb and B6-TgN(HD82Gln)81Dbo (Huntington) mice and early weight loss in male mice mutagenized with N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea have been markedly reduced or eliminated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-139
Number of pages13
JournalLaboratory Animals
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2008


  • embryo transfer
  • MICE
  • welfare
  • in vitro fertilization (IVF)
  • health
  • specific pathogen free (SPF)


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