Despite numerous advances in research techniques such as in vitro methods and advanced computer modeling that avoid the use of animals, unfortunately there is still often the need for a whole-system approach to preclinical research and to obtaining data from animals. For example, understanding the complex physiological interactions between the cardiovascular, respiratory and central nervous systems will be critical for the development of many human pharmaceuticals and therapies.
The Pathophysiology Platform provides MDC researchers and external scientists with a central resource for the study of animal disease models. We use validated approaches and state-of-the-art instrumentation that allow for the sensitive screening of phenotypic variations. We focus on techniques which minimize animal use and enable researchers to obtain comparable levels of information from fewer animals or to obtain more information from the same number of animals, thereby reducing animal use in the future. With this aim, we use a variety of non-invasive in vivo test tools that allow the monitoring of physiological and bioelectrical variables (e.g. blood pressure, heart rate, ECG and respiration) in conscious animals. The non-invasive, whole-body imaging of small animals using techniques such as High-Frequency Ultrasound and Time-Domain-Nuclear-Magnetic-Resonance imaging is helping to significantly reduce the number of animals used in basic research and drug development by eliminating the need of sequential sacrification of animals at different time points. We continuously try to improve scientific procedures and husbandry to minimize actual or potential pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm and/or improve animal welfare in situations where the use of animals is unavoidable.
While the central focus of the facility is cardiovascular research, the techniques that are employed may also be useful to investigators in other fields such as cancer, neurobiology and developmental biology.
To give a short overview on available techniques and services at the pathophysiology facility:
- Body Composition Analysis
- Non-invasive ECG
- Non-invasive Bloodpressure
- Respiratory Analysis
Animal experiments should be accompanied by a consultation of the core facility pathophysiology staff. This counselling will ensure the selection of the best phenotyping techniques for your experiment. For a meeting with the pathophysiology staff please call or send us an email.