Objectives: Few methods exist to noninvasively study in vivo gastrointestinal motility in animal models of enteric infections. None have been used on mouse pups, which often display more severe symptoms during enteric infections than adult mice. This study sought to determine whether digital fluoroscopy could be used to evaluate gastrointestinal motility in mouse pups as well as adult mice.
Materials and Methods: Fluoroscopic imaging studies were performed on normal 6- to 8-week-old adult mice and 12-day-old pups to develop protocols for evaluating gastric and intestinal wall movements and changes in stomach sizes. These protocols were then applied to evaluate motility in an established rotavirus mouse model. Imaging studies were performed on adult mice at 0, 2, and 4 days postinfection and on 12-day-old pups at 2 days postinfection.
Results: Fluoroscopic studies revealed postnatal differences of gastric peristalsis and rates of intestinal contractions between normal mouse pups and adult mice. Studies of the rotavirus mouse model revealed that differences in gastric function occur between rotavirus-infected and control mouse pups, but no discernible difference occurs between infected and control adult mice. In contrast, there were no detectable differences in rates of intestinal wall movements between control pups with normal stools and infected pups with loose stools.
Conclusions: These results demonstrate that fluoroscopy can evaluate in vivo motility in mouse pups and by doing so provide findings that are clinically relevant to the study of enteric infections in young.