Animal Model Facility

Ipatimup has an Animal Experimentation Unit located at “Hospital de São João” (facilities from the Medical Faculty of the University of Porto). All researchers can use these facilities to perform experimentation with animal models.

The available mice strain is produced in our Animal House.  It is an immunodeficient mouse model (strain: N: NIH(s) II-nu/nu). This mouse model was developed by successive crossings and backcrossings between athymic nu/nu mice, on an N:NIH(S) background, and female CBA/N mice that have an X-linked immune defect in B-lymphocyte function (Azar HA et al, 1980). The resulting doubly congenic N:NIH(S)II-nu/nu mice maintained the marked thymic hypoplasia and poor development of hair of the nu/nu mice. In contrast to nu/nu and CBA/N mice, in this new mouse model both T-cell zones of lymph nodes and the spleen were depleted of lymphocytes. The mice with combined immunodeficiency supported the growth of human and animal tumor xenografts. Their main area of application is in tumour biology and xenograft research. For these reasons the reproduction, maintenance and surveillance of this specific strain of mice is made under very limiting conditions:


- Room maintained in “SPF-like” (“Safety Pathogen Free-like”) conditions;

- Outbred colony of mice maintained as a closed colony of genetically-variable composition ;~

- Sterilized cages, beds and water supplies, changed weekly or when necessary;

- Sterilized food;

- Large spectrum antibiotic to prevent infections;

-  Continuous surveillance of the animal health status;

- Specialized and certified personnel by “Direcção Geral de Veterinária – DGV”, according to individual functions.


The animal reproduction level is maintained in order to guarantee the existence of a minimal number of healthy animals. This basal colony management is kept in order to: (1) maintain an outbred colony of genetically-variable composition mice, (2) allow the periodic substitution of active reproductive couples and (3) improve the reproduction level when there is the need to perform experiments.

This kind of colony management allows: (1) a better control in expenses and, simultaneously, (2) obey to National and European Laws regarding the protection of animals used in scientific research (“Portaria n.º 1005/92 de 23/10/1992, Documento 4749, Versão 2, de 17/05/1995” and Directive 2010/63/UE of the European Parliament and Council of September 22nd 2010). Additional information can be obtained in


The actual legislation is resumed by the well known “3R Policy”:


 - Refinement alternatives as methods, which alleviate or minimize potential pain, suffering and distress, enhancing animal wellbeing;


 - Reduction alternatives as methods for obtaining comparable levels of information from the use of fewer animals in scientific procedures, or for obtaining more information from the same number of animals;


 - Replacement alternatives as methods which allow for a given purpose to be achieved without conducting experiments or other scientific procedures on animals.





  1. The principal researcher (PI) must plan carefully the experiment and contact the responsible technician (submission form available at Ipatimup – services – “Biotério”) to order the desired number of animals, gender and age (normally animals between 6/8 weeks), with a minimal period  of 2 months;
  2. The PI must assure the existence in the research team of trained personal to perform the practical execution of the experiment, the animal surveillance, the registry of anthropometric parameters and others that are necessary, according to the developed experiment, and define the periodicity of those registries (see the services file for requisition of this tasks)
  3. The PI or other member directly involved in the experiment must warn the Responsible Technician about the experiment cancellation. In this situation the PI is responsible for the payment of costs concerning the requested animals (number of animals and their production expenses).
  4. The PI must complete for each experiment the “Animal Experimentation/Research Licencing Form”, available in “Quality Control” section,  to the 2.4 point, inclusively.  After completion, the form will be sent to “Direcção Geral de Veterinária” .
  5. External research groups can use our facilities and services.  To do so, contact the Responsible Technician ( in order to get all the requirements as well as the costs for that particular experiment.



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