During the 2020 AALAS Virtual National Meeting, ClearH2O will give a recorded Technical Trade Presentation, entitled “Improving Rodent Breeding Performance with Nutritional Supplementation” presented by Dr. Morgane Stum, Sales & Marketing Associate at ClearH2O. This topic is an excellent example of ClearH2O applying its gel technology for effective delivery of nutritional supplementation for breeding programs, and has provided lots of information on the subject (See our DietGel® Prenatal webpage for all resources).
Building Strong Rodent Colonies
More than ever, after the forced changes caused by COVID-19 and described in two articles, Science Magazine and The Scientist, where countless mice had to be euthanized because of the lack of resources and personnel, an effort to rebuild colonies faster is needed. Slowly, institutions have ramped their colonies back up, whether they chose to continue with the same models, or decided to take on different projects.
In our Technical Trade Presentation, we will discuss:
- the breeding challenges encountered in rodents colonies, for the females during pregnancy, lactation, delivery and for the pups after birth and after weaning
- best practices to put in place to improve breeding performance, such as environmental factors and enrichment
- the importance of nutrition for good reproductive outcomes
We will present results from studies performed by independent research institutions using ClearH2O nutritional gel supplements, showing that DietGel® Prenatal or DietGel® 76A, when given to the female during pregnancy and lactation can:
- increase the number of pups per litter
- increase pup weight and survival
- decrease cannibalism
- increase mothers’ weight, making them healthier and likely able to re-breed more quickly
The importance of Nutrition for Reproduction
Nutrition is an important part of good reproductive performance. Some nutrients are essential to pregnancy and lactation for both the breeding females and the pups:
- Iron is an essential element for blood production. It is found in the red blood cells protein hemoglobin, and helps to transport oxygen from the lungs to all the organs in the body. During pregnancy, higher amounts of iron are needed to account for the increase in total blood volume. Iron deficiency can lead to anemia, decreased fertility, smaller and less viable pups, and small litters (1)
- Omega-3 fatty acids are an important family of fats with 3 main types: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). ALA is found in seeds, nuts and plant oils, while DHA and EPA are found in fish and seafood. During pregnancy, Omega-3s, especially DHA, are critical nutrients for the development of the fetal brain, eyes/retina and nervous system, supporting healthy cognitive functions (2) Omega-3 fatty acids also inhibit inflammation and bacterial growth in pregnant mice, and reduces preterm births, miscarriages, and stillbirths (3)
- Calcium and Vitamin D are essential micronutrients for bone metabolism and development of the fetus. Their deficiency is associated with pre-term birth and low birth weight (4).
- Folic Acid (Vitamin B9) is critical for the neural tube formation. Deficiency in this vitamin can lead to neural tube defects such as spina bifida, orofacial cleft deformity and anencephaly (5).
- Protein is indispensable during pregnancy for overall fetal growth and formation of all muscles, organs and tissues. Protein deficiency has also been linked to cannibalism in certain species.
ClearH2o’s DietGel Prenatal contains all those nutrients to support healthy reproductive performance.
We recommend using DietGel Prenatal from mating to weaning, changing the cup every 2-3 days (M-W-F)
(1) Effect of Dietary Iron on Fetal Growth in Pregnant Mice – Hubbard et al., 2013 – Comp Med
(2) Maternal diet high in Omega-3 fatty acids upregulate genes involved in neurotrophin signalling in fetal brain during pregnancy in C57BL/6 mice – Akerele and Cheema, 2020 – Nruochemistry International
(3) Omega-3 fatty acids suppress Fusobacterium nucleatum–induced placental inflammation originating from maternal endothelial cells – Garcia-So et al., 2019 – JCI Insight
(4) Reduced Dietary Calcium and Vitamin D Results in Preterm Birth and Altered Placental Morphogenesis in Mice During Pregnancy – Wilson et al., 2020 – Reprod Sci
(5) Folic acid supplementation during pregnancy protects against lipopolysaccharide-induced neural tube defects in mice – Zhao et al., 2014 – Toxicol Lett
To learn more about ClearH2O’s involvement in AALAS 71st National Meeting, refer to our AALAS 2020 article series:
Overcoming Lab Animal Husbandry Challenges at AALAS 2020
AALAS 2020 Technical Trade Presentation Preview : Breeding Support
Come Discover ClearH2O’s New Gel Diet Specifically Formulated for Zebrafish at AALAS 2020
AALAS 2020 Aftermath: Laboratory Animal Science on the Forefront
The Ethical Obligation of Lab Animal Pain Management at AALAS 2020