Small Animal Phenotyping Core

Research Administration Centers and Cores Small Animal Phenotyping Core

Small Animal Phenotyping Core

Directory Category: Core

The Small Animal Phenotyping Core (SAPC) at UAB offers services for investigators in areas of body composition, energy expenditure, activity and body temperature. Chemical carcass analysis (the ‘gold standard’ measure of body composition) is used to measure water, fat and ash. For repeated in vivo measurements, the core has three dual-energy X-ray absorptiometers (DXA) to measure fat, soft-lean tissue and bone mineral content and density, and two quantitative magnetic resonance (QMR) machines to measure fat and lean tissue.

For more detailed bone work, the core has a Faxitron Model MX-20 tabletop X-ray machine for taking digital radiographic images of small animals or excised bones. 3D analyses of both trabecular and cortical bone ex vivo can be performed using the Scanco µCT40 micro-CT scanner.

The core has a complete mouse metabolic phenotyping setup that allows for the determination of energy expenditure (by oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide production), locomotor activity and food intake. Mice are housed in eight air-tight cages with a continuous flow through of air, all housed within an incubator that allows for detailed control of environmental temperature and photoperiod. A further 8 cages contain a running wheel and computer controlled access to food – either by limiting the hours of feeding, or by the amount eaten. Additional measures of activity can be made via implantable transponders, which also measure core body temperature, by voluntary wheel running and forced running on a treadmill or on forced running wheels. 

Energy content of food and feces can be determined by bomb calorimetry. Together with the weight of food eaten and feces produced, digestive efficiency can be calculated.