Announcing Changes in Availability of the NIA Aged Rodent Colony

Notice Number: NOT-AG-06-012

Key Dates
Release Date:  September 5, 2006

Issued by
National Institute on Aging (NIA) (

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) has facilitated aging research funded by many NIH Institutes, Federal Agencies and private Foundations, by allowing grantees of those institutes/agencies/foundations access to the NIA aged rodent colonies.  In recent months, demands on the NIA aged rodent colonies have soared, to the extent that the colonies are severely depleted of aged animals.  Because the NIA’s first priority must be to meet the resource needs of NIH and other federally funded grantees, restrictions on the use of the aged rodent colonies have been imposed for an indefinite period of time.

1.  The NIA aged rodent colonies will only be available for projects that are directly related to aging and are funded by the NIH or another U. S. Federal government agency (ex., VA, CDC).  This policy applies to all investigators, regardless of whether or not they have used the NIA colonies in the past, and it applies to all of the NIA aged rodent colonies and to the caloric restricted rodent colony.
2.  In order to assist new investigators pursuing NIA funding, eligibility will be extended to those investigators currently lacking active support but who have had funding from the NIA within the past three years, have had unfunded applications to the NIA within the past three years, or have been supported within the past three years from an NIA grant on which they were not PI.
3.  The cost per animal will be adjusted for eligible investigators with non-NIA NIH funding or funding from other government agencies to reduce, but not eliminate, the NIA subsidy to the real cost of producing these aged animals.  This will allow the NIA to continue to provide the resources to meet the needs of the NIH grantee community.  Investigators funded for aging research through the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) and eligible to order under the VA-NIA agreement will pay the same price as NIA grantees.

The new policy for use of the NIA aged rodent colonies is posted on the rodent colony website (, as is the new price schedule (

In addition, the NIA is considering discontinuing the caloric restricted (CR) rodent colony after the current contract ends (entries would end in 2010 and the CR colony would cease to exist in 2013).  The CR colony is very costly and utilization is decreasing, suggesting that the science has moved beyond the need for a rodent colony with lifelong 40% CR.  Increasingly, investigators have chosen to initiate their own caloric restriction protocols in cases where CR animals are need for specific research projects.  


If you have comments on any of the policy changes or future needs for the caloric restricted rodent colony, please send them to:

Dr. Nancy Nadon
Office of Biological Resources and Resource Development
National Institute on Aging
Bethesda, Maryland 20892

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