The essence of research on germ-free life is isolation. Any isolation must be attained mechanically, proven scientifically, and understood philosophically. As early as 1885, Louis Pasteur declared that the concept of a multicellular life free of all demonstrable living microbes could be looked upon as "mission impossible." Germ-free animal research began when Nuttal and Thierfelder in 1895/96 (1) succeeded in keeping a small number of Caesarean-derived guinea pigs alive and germ-free for more than a week. From their work, one can see that the major elements of germ-free research are similar today. They described how to determine the time for partition; developed anesthetic procedures that would not too adversely affect the offspring; and worked out procedures of aseptic Cesarean section and transfer of the offspring from the uterus into a sterile environment and sterilization procedures for food, water, and air, as well as proper methods for testing the sterility of the isolator.

In the decades to follow, several scientists did some work on germ-free multi-cellular organisms, but they all had to work with the first generation. A real breakthrough in germ-free animal research came in 1945, when the second generation of germ-free rats were born at the Lobund Laboratory, Notre Dame, USA. In the following decades, units for germ-free animal research were established in several countries all around the world. Bengt E. Gustafssson's lightweight stainless steel isolators (2) represented a major technical improvement, and so did Trexler's plastic isolators. In the 1980s and 1990s, there has been a temporary decline in germ-free animal research since much resources from bioscience research were allocated to HIV and AIDS. However, in the last 5-7 years, there has been an increased interest in germ-free animals as well as in animals with a specific, known microbiota, i.e., gnotobiotic animals. This increased interest is partly based on progress in molecular methods for studying prokaryot-eukaryote crosstalk in health and disease, partly on the mere fact that investigators, when working with transgenic or knock-out laboratory animals have realized the tremendous influence of the microbiota on the physiological and pathophysiological consequences of the new genetic construct. Therefore, it is easy to forecast that germ-free animals and gnotobiotic technology will be of increasing interest in the years to come. In the following, we will focus on the role of the microbiota on some anatomical structures, physiological, and biochemical functions in the host. Additionally, the immunological impact of the microbiota will briefly be commented on.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

If Pregnancy Is Something That Frightens You, It's Time To Convert Your Fear Into Joy. Ready To Give Birth To A Child? Is The New Status Hitting Your State Of Mind? Are You Still Scared To Undergo All The Pain That Your Best Friend Underwent Just A Few Days Back? Not Convinced With The Answers Given By The Experts?

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