Research-Relevant Conditions and Pathology of Laboratory Mice, Rats, Gerbils, Guinea Pigs, Hamsters, Naked Mole Rats, and Rabbits

ILAR J. 2021 Dec 31;62(1-2):77-132. doi: 10.1093/ilar/ilab022.


Animals are valuable resources in biomedical research in investigations of biological processes, disease pathogenesis, therapeutic interventions, safety, toxicity, and carcinogenicity. Interpretation of data from animals requires knowledge not only of the processes or diseases (pathophysiology) under study but also recognition of spontaneous conditions and background lesions (pathology) that can influence or confound the study results. Species, strain/stock, sex, age, anatomy, physiology, spontaneous diseases (noninfectious and infectious), and neoplasia impact experimental results and interpretation as well as animal welfare. This review and the references selected aim to provide a pathology resource for researchers, pathologists, and veterinary personnel who strive to achieve research rigor and validity and must understand the spectrum of "normal" and expected conditions to accurately identify research-relevant experimental phenotypes as well as unusual illness, pathology, or other conditions that can compromise studies involving laboratory mice, rats, gerbils, guinea pigs, hamsters, naked mole rats, and rabbits.

Keywords: Cricetinae; Gerbillinae; guinea pigs; mice; mole rats; rabbits; rats.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Phenomena*
  • Communicable Diseases*
  • Cricetinae
  • Gerbillinae
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Mice
  • Mole Rats
  • Rabbits