Animal research

AnimalBiome Presents Best Practices for Designing Microbiome Studies in Animal Research

The rapid evolution of the field of research has sparked the interest of companies and researchers, many of whom hope to implement it. Despite the growing demand for clinical and dietary trials in companion animals to include microbiome investigations, best practices for doing so in veterinary medicine are lacking in the scientific literature.

In a new article published in Frontiers of veterinary science, AnimalBiome researchers aim to review best practices for conducting feeding trials or clinical trials that investigate the effects of an intervention on the microbiota.

The paper discusses common mistakes that are made, such as cost-cutting decisions that reduce the value of the study and ultimately prevent brands from making claims on particular products. Additionally, inexperienced researchers may lack ways to optimize the execution of a study that could have helped them achieve clear and unambiguous results, which in many cases would have been straightforward and inexpensive.

“Through experience, we have learned that performing a microbiome analysis in companion animals has important aspects to consider in the design of the study, which we did not see discussed by d ‘others. We wanted to provide a clear and concise guide to help lay people get the most out of their investment in research dollars and promote high quality data in published scientific literature ”,Explained Jessica Jarett, study lead author and computational biologist at AnimalBiome.

Complex interactions

Jarett said NutraIngredients-United StatesThat an animal’s gut microbiome is linked to its genes, immune system, the food it eats, its lifestyle, and its treatment choices, and these interactions are complex and difficult to predict.

“Individual breeds of dogs and cats have specific genetic differences and predispositions to certain diseases associated with the gut microbiome. For example, genetically sensitive Boxers have inflamed colonists because their immune cells, called macrophages, allow E. coli bacteria to adhere, invade, and replicate within them. In general, pets and people with gut inflammation show larger and more frequent changes in their microbiome, again demonstrating the influence of the immune system, “Jarett explained.

“Not expensive is expensive, and expensive is not expensive”Have

“Cheap is expensive, and expensive is cheap” – a saying that could not be more applicable to investing in pet microbiome research ” said the authors. “Limiting study costs presents a substantial risk of conducting an undernourished or fundamentally flawed study with inconclusive results. Conversely, spending more on a well-designed and properly sized study may be more costly upfront, but can pay dividends in the form of credible, well-substantiated product claims and better performing products. Our strongest recommendations for best practice in companion animal studies with microbiome testing are to simplify the research question (s), perform microbiome screening, include appropriate controls, ‘Consider a consistent pre-study diet for all animals and allow 30 days for microbiome response to diet change.Have

Jarett said that human medical research, including microbiome research, has much better funding mechanisms than animal studies, so often animal science benefits from advances in human health.

“It is only recently that the cost and ease of amplicon sequencing technology has fallen enough to make it available to small pet food companies,”she says.

Study design

The guide covered experimental design, dietary considerations, recruitment, and microbiota sampling choices. The review also looked at a handful of basic and commonly used models in interventional trials and microbiome studies, with general recommendations and caveats for each.

“In addition to providing a brief overview of the two most common sequencing methods currently used to characterize microbial communities, we do not offer a comprehensive review of the various methods for sequencing or analyzing microbiome data, but rather refer readers to the many excellent reviews on this subject. , including several written for non-bioinformaticians, “the report explained.

Need a large, diverse group of healthy pets

According to the authors, it’s easier to define an unhealthy microbiome than a healthy microbiome. The report identifies a need for specific organisms that make up a healthy microbiome, as their relative abundance can vary widely from animal to animal.

Jarett explained that a microbiome dominated by a single type of bacteria, or containing a high abundance of bacteria associated with disease states, is easily recognized as unhealthy. However, there are many possible ways to assemble a healthy microbiome. For this reason, a large reference set of healthy animal microbiomes is needed for comparative research.

Take away food

Put simply, Jarett suggests having a clear and straightforward purpose for the studies, which allows for a clear and unambiguous answer to the research question. She also advises researchers to perform microbiome analyzes as part of the screening process.

Another suggestion is to anticipate the big influences on the microbiome and normalize them where possible. “For example, ask all participants to follow the same diet during the break-in period. Include appropriate control groups that correspond to treatment groups ” Jarett said. “Plan an adequate duration of the study. One month is a good benchmark for dietary interventions.Have

What you need to know and how to apply it

As evidence-based practices and microbiome testing in intervention trials become increasingly common to support product claims, the authors advise veterinarians to keep abreast of microbiome studies.

Manufacturers of supplements and probiotics, as well as pet food companies that use probiotics as ingredients, should be aware of how they work. Key understandings should include how probiotics work, whether they colonize, their impact on microbiome test results, and potential workarounds.

“We hope this document will help pet food companies, veterinarians and others understand the benefits of microbiome testing and be confident that they can implement best practices when incorporating it.” in their research “Jarett said.

Source: Frontiers of veterinary scienceHave

April 09, 2021 |

“Best Practices for the Design of Microbiome Studies in Companion Animal Research”Have

Authors: J. Jarett et al.