And anti-text of the week

14 10 2018

DBAThe anti-text of the week came from Emma. Not entirely fair to classify it so harshly as she was asking a very sensible question about a very worthwhile thing. But the sheer grossness of the image she texted made me catch my breath. Here is a highly sanitized, tastefully blurred version.

The issue?  What counts as renal fat. Having killed 60 or so mice for their brains at the end of summer, we are now determined to get every last scrap of information we feasibly can from their bodies. And one thing we want to assess is adiposity. We already have their BMIs (from weight and length measurements) but it’d be nice to corroborate these with more direct measurements of fattiness. We want to see whether being very inactive (as in some standard-caged C57s) or very active (as in the intensely route-tracing DBAs) alters body composition in a way that could reflect or affect health.

Meanwhile, superb technicians Erin and Michelle are also using CT scans to look for arthritis in the mice’s spines, hips and knees. They want to find out if stereotypic behaviour is good, bad or indifferent for joint health, and whether our more inactive animals may have been that way because of pain. In turn all of this will help shape what we research next in differentially housed mice, hopefully for Aileen’s PhD.