The experiment I will be primarily working on uses a relatively common animal model called drinking in the dark or DID. We’re trying to see if there will be a genotypic difference between the amount drunk by the mice which could provide insight into the relationship between microglia and excessive alcohol consumption.
This is a chronic experiment so this means we’re giving ethanol to mice during the dark cycle of the day for 6 weeks. The mice we’re working with are a transgenic line of myD88 mice. Myd88 is a 2 pronged pathway that downstream produces inflammatory cytokines. In our mice, we also use the cre-lox system. This allows us to selectively knock out one arm of the myD88 pathway only in microglia in some of the mice (cre positive) and the other mice are fine (cre negative). In some of our mice (the knockout ones), the amount of inflammatory cytokines is severely depressed but not completely eliminated since one arm of the pathway is still functioning. Preliminary data shows that female mice, in general, drink more. This isn’t necessarily surprising because from what I’ve learned sex differences are not uncommon when conducting microglial experiments. It will be interesting to see if this trend continues for the whole six weeks or if a significant genotypic difference will emerge as well when analyzing the rest of the data.