Probiotic Studies in Neonatal Mice Using Gavage

Freddy Francis, Natallia Varankovich, Byron Brook, Nelly Amenyogbe, Rym Ben-Othman, Bing Cai, Danny Harbeson, Aaron C. Liu, Ben Dai, Shelly McErlane, Kris Andrews, Tobias R. Kollmann, Pinaki Panigrahi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Adult mouse models have been widely used to understand the mechanism behind disease progression in humans. The applicability of studies done in adult mouse models to neonatal diseases is limited. To better understand disease progression, host responses and long-term impact of interventions in neonates, a neonatal mouse model likely is a better fit. The sparse use of neonatal mouse models can in part be attributed to the technical difficulties of working with these small animals. A neonatal mouse model was developed to determine the effects of probiotic administration in early life and to specifically assess the ability to establish colonization in the newborn mouse intestinal tract. Specifically, to assess probiotic colonization in the neonatal mouse, Lactobacillus plantarum (LP) was delivered directly into the neonatal mouse gastrointestinal tract. To this end, LP was administered to mice by feeding through intra-esophageal (IE) gavage. A highly reproducible method was developed to standardize the process of IE gavage that allows an accurate administration of probiotic dosages while minimizing trauma, an aspect particularly important given the fragility of newborn mice. Limitations of this process include possibilities of esophageal irritation or damage and aspiration if gavaged incorrectly. This approach represents an improvement on current practices because IE gavage into the distal esophagus reduces the chances of aspiration. Following gavage, the colonization profile of the probiotic was traced using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) of the extracted intestinal DNA with LP specific primers. Different litter settings and cage management techniques were used to assess the potential for colonization-spread. The protocol details the intricacies of IE neonatal mouse gavage and subsequent colonization quantification with LP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of visualized experiments : JoVE
Issue number143
StatePublished - Jan 27 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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