Mice delivered by Caesarian section were used to develop a new mouse colony which has been maintained in an environment protected from contact with common mouse pathogens, but not in the germ-free state. These mice, designated as NCS, were compared with animals of the same sex and age coming from the parent colony maintained under ordinary conditions.
The NCS mice grew more rapidly than ordinary mice on complete diets; moreover, they continued to gain weight—although at a slower rate—when fed deficient diets which caused ordinary mice to stop growing, or to lose weight.
The NCS mice proved much more susceptible than ordinary mice to certain experimental bacterial infections. In contrast, they were much more resistant than ordinary mice to the lethal effect of large doses of endotoxins. However, they responded to injection of minute amounts of these endotoxins by a marked increase in susceptibility to staphylococcal infection.
Bacteriological studies revealed striking qualitative differences between the intestinal flora of NCS and ordinary mice. When NCS mice were contaminated—either by contact or by feeding—with a strain of Escherichia coli recovered from the intestine of ordinary mice, they acquired the characteristics of the latter animals with regard to weight gain on various diets, and to response to bacterial pathogens and endotoxins.
NCS mice have been found well suited to the study of several nutritional, bacteriological, and immunological problems and it appears that their production on a large scale will not present unsurmountable difficulties.