Voluntary wheel running in the mouse is used to assess physical performance and endurance and to model exercise training as a way to enhance health. Wheel running is a voluntary activity in contrast to other experimental exercise models in mice, which rely on aversive stimuli to force active movement. This protocol consists of allowing mice to run freely on the open surface of a slanted, plastic saucer-shaped wheel placed inside a standard mouse cage. Rotations are electronically transmitted to a USB hub so that frequency and rate of running can be captured via a software program for data storage and analysis for variable time periods. Mice are individually housed so that accurate recordings can be made for each animal. Factors such as mouse strain, gender, age, and individual motivation, which affect running activity, must be considered in the design of experiments using voluntary wheel running.
Keywords: exercise training; exercised-induced health benefits; mouse fitness testing; running endurance; voluntary wheel running.
Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.