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Hawkins P.,RSPCA | Burman O.,University of Lincoln | Dennison N.,Animals Scientific Procedures Inspectorate | Honess P.,University of Oxford | And 6 more authors.
Laboratory Animals | Year: 2011

The refinement of husbandry and procedures to reduce animal suffering and improve welfare is an essential component of humane science. Successful refinement depends upon the ability to assess animal welfare effectively, and detect any signs of pain or distress as rapidly as possible, so that any suffering can be alleviated. This document provides practical guidance on setting up and operating effective protocols for the welfare assessment of animals used in research and testing. It sets out general principles for more objective observation of animals, recognizing and assessing indicators of pain or distress and tailoring these to individual projects. Systems for recording indicators, including score sheets, are reviewed and guidance is set out on determining practical monitoring regimes that are more likely to detect any signs of suffering. This guidance is intended for all staff required to assess or monitor animal welfare, including animal technologists and care staff, veterinarians and scientists. It will also be of use to members of ethics or animal care and use committees. A longer version of this document, with further background information and extra topics including training and information sharing, is available on the Laboratory Animals website. Source


Maguire S.,Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute | Estabel J.,Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute | Ingham N.,Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute | Ingham N.,Kings College London | And 20 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

Homozygosity for Slc25a21tm1a(KOMP)Wtsi results in mice exhibiting orofacial abnormalities, alterations in carpal and rugae structures, hearing impairment and inflammation in the middle ear. In humans it has been hypothesised that the 2- oxoadipate mitochondrial carrier coded by SLC25A21 may be involved in the disease 2-oxoadipate acidaemia. Unexpectedly, no 2-oxoadipate acidaemia-like symptoms were observed in animals homozygous for Slc25a21tm1a(KOMP)Wtsi despite confirmation that this allele reduces Slc25a21 expression by 71.3%. To study the complete knockout, an allelic series was generated using the loxP and FRT sites typical of a Knockout Mouse Project allele. After removal of the critical exon and neomycin selection cassette, Slc25a21 knockout mice homozygous for the Slc25a21tm1b(KOMP)Wtsi and Slc25a21tm1d(KOMP)Wtsi alleles were phenotypically indistinguishable from wild-type. This led us to explore the genomic environment of Slc25a21 and to discover that expression of Pax9, located 39 of the target gene, was reduced in homozygous Slc25a21tm1a(KOMP)Wtsi mice. We hypothesize that the presence of the selection cassette is the cause of the down regulation of Pax9 observed. The phenotypes we observed in homozygous Slc25a21tm1a(KOMP)Wtsi mice were broadly consistent with a hypomorphic Pax9 allele with the exception of otitis media and hearing impairment which may be a novel consequence of Pax9 down regulation. We explore the ramifications associated with this particular targeted mutation and emphasise the need to interpret phenotypes taking into consideration all potential underlying genetic mechanisms. © 2014 Maguire et al. Source


Pinnick K.E.,University of Oxford | Nicholson G.,University of Oxford | Nicholson G.,Medical Research Council Harwell | Manolopoulos K.N.,University of Birmingham | And 10 more authors.
Diabetes | Year: 2014

Upper- and lower-body fat depots exhibit opposing associations with obesity-related metabolic disease. We defined the relationship between DEXA-quantified fat depots and diabetes/cardiovascular risk factors in a healthy population-based cohort (n = 3,399). Gynoid fat mass correlated negatively with insulin resistance after total fat mass adjustment, whereas the opposite was seen for abdominal fat. Paired transcriptomic analysis of gluteal subcutaneous adipose tissue (GSAT) and abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue (ASAT) was performed across the BMI spectrum (n = 49; 21.4-45.5 kg/m2). In both depots, energy-generating metabolic genes were negatively associated and inflammatory genes were positively associated with obesity. However, associations were significantly weaker in GSAT. At the systemic level, arteriovenous release of the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 (n = 34) was lower from GSAT than ASAT. Isolated preadipocytes retained a depotspecific transcriptional "memory" of embryonic developmental genes and exhibited differential promoter DNA methylation of selected genes (HOTAIR, TBX5) between GSAT and ASAT. Short hairpin RNA-mediated silencing identified TBX5 as a regulator of preadipocyte proliferation and adipogenic differentiation in ASAT. In conclusion, intrinsic differences in the expression of developmental genes in regional adipocytes provide a mechanistic basis for diversity in adipose tissue (AT) function. The less inflammatory nature of lower-body AT offers insight into the opposing metabolic disease risk associations between upper- and lower-body obesity. © 2014 by the American Diabetes Association. Source


Wills Q.F.,University of Oxford | Livak K.J.,Fluidigm | Tipping A.J.,University College London | Enver T.,University College London | And 4 more authors.
Nature Biotechnology | Year: 2013

Gene expression in multiple individual cells from a tissue or culture sample varies according to cell-cycle, genetic, epigenetic and stochastic differences between the cells. However, single-cell differences have been largely neglected in the analysis of the functional consequences of genetic variation. Here we measure the expression of 92 genes affected by Wnt signaling in 1,440 single cells from 15 individuals to associate single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with gene-expression phenotypes, while accounting for stochastic and cell-cycle differences between cells. We provide evidence that many heritable variations in gene function - such as burst size, burst frequency, cell cycle-specific expression and expression correlation/noise between cells - are masked when expression is averaged over many cells. Our results demonstrate how single-cell analyses provide insights into the mechanistic and network effects of genetic variability, with improved statistical power to model these effects on gene expression. © 2013 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved. Source


Oliver P.L.,University of Oxford | FinelliMatte M.J.,University of Oxford | Edwards B.,University of Oxford | Bitoun E.,University of Oxford | And 5 more authors.
PLoS Genetics | Year: 2011

Oxidative stress is a common etiological feature of neurological disorders, although the pathways that govern defence against reactive oxygen species (ROS) in neurodegeneration remain unclear. We have identified the role of oxidation resistance 1 (Oxr1) as a vital protein that controls the sensitivity of neuronal cells to oxidative stress; mice lacking Oxr1 display cerebellar neurodegeneration, and neurons are less susceptible to exogenous stress when the gene is over-expressed. A conserved short isoform of Oxr1 is also sufficient to confer this neuroprotective property both in vitro and in vivo. In addition, biochemical assays indicate that Oxr1 itself is susceptible to cysteine-mediated oxidation. Finally we show up-regulation of Oxr1 in both human and pre-symptomatic mouse models of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, indicating that Oxr1 is potentially a novel neuroprotective factor in neurodegenerative disease. © 2011 Oliver et al. Source

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