USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center

Mouse Metabolic Research Unit

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About the Unit

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The primary goal of the Mouse Metabolic Research Unit is to characterize mouse metabolic phenotypes. MMRU users currently have access to a Comprehensive Laboratory Animal Monitoring System (CLAMS, Columbus Instruments) for metabolic assessments, treadmills, and instruments for indirectly measuring body composition; i.e., lean body mass, fat mass and bone mineral content.

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Instruments and Services

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The Comprehensive Lab Animal Monitoring System (CLAMS) is a mouse monitoring system that can be customized to fulfill the needs of specific users/experimental designs. This system integrates a variety of non-invasive monitoring technologies that enable the continuous assessment of a number of metabolic and physiologic parameters in mice. The capabilities of our system include quantitative 24-hour monitoring of behavioral (e.g. spontaneous ambulatory or running wheel activity/locomotion, sleeping, and feeding patterns) and physiological (e.g. oxygen consumption, carbon dioxide production, respiratory exchange ratio, energy expenditure, body temperature, and exercise capacity) parameters, as well as automated control of food availability for meal feeding or pair-feeding.

For noninvasive measurement of body composition, the MMRU maintains instruments for dual x-ray absorptiometry (PIXImus, GE Healthcare) and quantitative magnetic resonance (QMR, Echo Medical).

For assessment of energy expenditure, food intake, activity, body temperature, a two lane metabolic treadmill, a six-lane treadmill, and a grip strength meter (Columbus Instruments) are available. 

Mouse Metabolic Research Unit (MMRU) Use Request Form

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Benefits for Investigators

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The MMRU enables investigators to monitor energy balance concurrently in a large number of mice in an affordable and interpretable manner. The capability to assess body composition and exercise capacity extends the possibility to accurately evaluate and understand components of energy balance. The MMRU expands upon the Children’s Nutrition Research Center's original calorimetry core established in 2002. The expertise in the performance and interpretation of metabolic studies of the CNRC calorimetry core (also includes human and pig indirect calorimetry facilities) remains within the MMRU and ensures that the data generated are consistently of high quality. Users can also benefit from the expertise of other MMRU scientists, who are available to help plan experimental designs and assist with data interpretation.