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. 2016 Feb 4;3:4.
doi: 10.3389/fnut.2016.00004. eCollection 2016.

Effect of Housing Types on Growth, Feeding, Physical Activity, and Anxiety-Like Behavior in Male Sprague-Dawley Rats

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Free PMC article

Effect of Housing Types on Growth, Feeding, Physical Activity, and Anxiety-Like Behavior in Male Sprague-Dawley Rats

Jennifer A Teske et al. Front Nutr. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Background: Animal welfare and accurate data collection are equally important in rodent research. Housing influences study outcomes and can challenge studies that monitor feeding, so housing choice needs to be evidence-based. The goal of these studies was to (1) compare established measures of well-being between rodents housed in wire grid-bottom floors with a resting platform compared to solid-bottom floors with bedding and (2) determine whether presence of a chewable device (Nylabone) affects orexin-A-induced hyperphagia.

Methods: Rodents were crossed over to the alternate housing twice after 2-week periods. Time required to complete food intake measurements was recorded as an indicator of feasibility. Food intake stimulated by orexin-A was compared with and without the Nylabone. Blood corticosterone and hypothalamic BDNF were assessed.

Results: Housing had no effect on growth, energy expenditure, corticosterone, hypothalamic BDNF, behavior, and anxiety measures. Food intake was disrupted after housing cross-over. Time required to complete food intake measurements was significantly higher for solid-bottom bedded cages. The Nylabone had no effect on orexin-A-stimulated feeding.

Conclusion: Well-being is not significantly different between rodents housed on grid-bottom floors and those in solid-bottom-bedded cages based on overall growth and feeding but alternating between housing confounds measures of feeding.

Keywords: anxiety; cognition; environmental enrichment; microenvironment; stress.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Experimental design for study 1: rodents in housing type 1 were first housed in wire-bottom cages, then transferred to solid-bottom cages, and finally returned to wire-bottom cages. Rodents in housing type 2 were first housed in solid-bottom cages, then transferred to wire-bottom cages, and finally returned to solid-bottom cages. Rodents remained in each housing for 2-week periods. N = 20 (n = 10/housing strategy).
Figure 2
Figure 2
Body composition and feeding-related outcomes. (A) Body weight, (B) fat mass, (C) fat-free mass, and (D) 24-h food intake during 3-day periods at the beginning and end of 2-week periods in rodents housed in either solid (s)- or wire (w)-bottom cages for 2 weeks (days 1–14), moved to the other housing for 2 weeks (days 15–28), and then moved back to the original housing for 2 weeks (days 29–42). For food intake (D), note the decrease in food intake after switching from wire to solid cages. Data represent mean ± SEM. Please note different y-axes. N = 20 (n = 10/housing strategy). Lines above bars in (D) are significantly different.
Figure 3
Figure 3
(A) Plasma corticosterone and (B) brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN) was not significantly different after Bonferroni correction for multiple comparisons between rodents housed in either solid- or wire-bottom cages. Data represent mean ± SEM. Please note different y-axes. N = 20 (n = 10/housing strategy). *P < 0.05 as compared to solid-bottom housing.
Figure 4
Figure 4
Orexin-A injection into the rostral lateral hypothalamus stimulated feeding in the presence and absence of a Nylabone during the (A) 0-1 and (B) 1-2 h postinjection time periods in Sprague-Dawley rats housed on wire-bottom floors. N = 13. Data represent mean ± SEM. *P < 0.05 as compared to vehicle-control both in the presence and absence of the Nylabone.

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