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Behavioral assessment of intermittent wheel running and individual housing in mice in the laboratory

By T. M. Pham, S. Brene, V. Baumans

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Physical cage enrichment - exercise devices for rodents in the laboratory - often includes running wheels. This study compared responses of mice in enriched physical and social conditions and in standard social conditions to wheel running, individual housing, and open-field test. The study divided into 6 groups, 48 female BALB/c mice group housed in enriched and standard conditions. On alternate days, the study exposed 2 groups to individual running wheel cages. It intermittently separated from their cage mates and housed individually 2 groups with no running wheels; 2 control groups remained in enriched or standard condition cages. There were no significant differences between enriched and standard group housed mice in alternate days' wheel running. Over time, enriched, group housed mice ran less. Both groups responded similarly to individual housing. In open-field test, mice exposed to individual housing without running wheel moved more and faster than wheel running and home cage control mice. They have lower body weights than group housed and wheel running mice. Intermittent withdrawal of individual housing affects the animals more than other commodities. Wheel running normalizes some effects of intermittent separation from the enriched, social home cage.

Publication Title Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Volume 8
Issue 3
Pages 157-173
ISBN/ISSN 1088-8705
Publisher Taylor & Francis
DOI 10.1207/s15327604jaws0803_1
Language English
Author Address Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Retzius vag 8, A3:4, SE-171 77 Stockholm,
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal housing
  3. Animal physiology
  4. Animals
  5. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  6. Cages
  7. Exercise
  8. Laboratory and experimental animals
  9. Laboratory animal science
  10. Mammals
  11. Mice
  12. peer-reviewed
  13. Rodents
  14. running
  15. space
  16. vertebrates
  1. peer-reviewed