The LACU assists the NIAMS IRP investigators with their research involving animals. Such animals are housed in shared animal facilities on the NIH campus including the NIAMS LACU directly overseen facility located in Building 10 in 9/C127 in the ACRF Buildings 6B, 10A, 50 and the Building 14 complex. NIAMS animal users work primarily with mice and rats. The NIAMS IRP Animal Program has oversight for 18 Animal Study Proposals (ASPs) using mouse and rat models. The LACU assists researchers prepare ASPs and has 2 voting members and 1 alternate on the NIAMS Animal Care and Use Committee (ACUC) and maintains the foster colony and the sentinel program for the IRP. Projects include arthritis, allergic rhinitis and other transmit receptor-induced cellular responses, recombination/chromatin remodeling using AID transgenic mice, familial Mediterranean fever (FMF), and TNF receptor associated periodic syndrome. Research involves muscle and related diseases (experimentation with: N-RAP protein, glycogen storage disease Type II, SIRT1 gene, myofibril assembly, and myositis) and sub-cellular organelles and cytoskeleton in skeletal muscle as well as in vitro experiments examining retroviral transduction, bone marrow transplantation, and epidermal differentiation using fetal and adult skin tissues. Many of the institutes studies involve apoptosis and autoimmunity, as well as cartilage studies focused on tissue-engineered cartilage, chondrogenesis, GDF-F, COMP and osteoarthritis. The NIAMS IRP LACU facilitated the accreditation of NIH with the Association for the Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International (AALACi) during the program review and inspection in June of 2011. June 2011 site visit was successful with particular commendation to the demonstrated partnership of the Animal Program, ACUC, and investigators in dealing conscientiously and humanely with research animals. No compliance deficiencies were directly attributed to NIAMS. The next inspection will be in early summer of 2014. The 10/9C127 Animal Facility is currently in the final stages of renovation and we expect to add between 700 and 900 mouse cages to the existing facility.
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