Metabonomic investigations of age- and batch-related variations in female NMRI mice using proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy†
The NMRI outbred mouse model is widely used for studying metabolic disease, toxicity, and infection, yet information regarding baseline metabolism of this murine strain is relatively sparse. Using different batches of female NMRI mice, we assessed the stability of the metabolic phenotype with increasing age and weight, and determined the influence of acclimatization on the metabolic profile of biofluids (urine, plasma, and faecal water). Differences in urinary concentrations of 3-ureidopropionate, 2-oxoisocaproate, trimethylamine, and glycine were detected between three batches of 9-week-old female NMRI mice using proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H NMR) spectroscopy coupled with multivariate statistical analysis. An acclimatization period of 2 weeks was imposed after the mice entered the laboratory environment. Strong differences in the faecal metabolome pre- and post-acclimatization were found (reduction in amino acid concentrations), whilst the urine metabolome showed increased levels of trimethylamine-N-oxide, phenylacetyl glycine, and hippurate with decreased excretion of formate and betaine post-acclimatization. Temporal variation in the metabolite profiles over a 16-week study stabilized around 7-week-old animals. The results from this study strongly argue for inclusion of an acclimatization period prior to starting an investigative procedure, and suggest that the metabolic phenotypes of female NMRI mice are more stable at around 7 weeks of age. We have also identified a set of metabolites that are more susceptible to variation in concentration. This information can serve as a benchmark in order to establish confidence in systematic variation attributable to pathology or therapeutic intervention above the background metabolic variation in the NMRI mouse.