End of an era (again)

31 07 2015

Another big project was brought to a close last week: we ended Mike‘s differential housing trial. All the remaining micenow very old (several have succumbed to old age already) — were again rapidly killed with Maka’s expert cervical dislocation.

The differential housing didn’t have the effects we expected (varying degrees of anxiety/calmness), making this one of the most expensive research mistakes I have ever made (bye bye many many $10s of thousands…). However, the mice did have had different opportunities to exercise for their entire lives: some had no wheel, some had a metal one, and some had a plastic wheel (used the most). Within groups there was a lot of variation too, with some mice with wheels choosing to run 50% of their time, others barely stirring (and now distinctly fat as a result). So, we offered two colleagues in Human Health and NutritionDavid Ma and David Wright — the chance to take whatever samples they wanted, since to have so many mice with such well-recorded lifetime histories of differential exercise must be pretty unusual. They were very keen and sent two well-organized teams to collect tissues: brains, muscle, fat… all got whisked away for preservation, later analysis, and, we hope, fabulous publications…

There are just 8 cages left now, running in the last phase of the last motivation trial. Aside from that, the two rooms are now very, very quiet and empty.