Effect of cage size on ultradian locomotor rhythms of laboratory mice

Physiol Behav. 1997 Dec;62(6):1253-8. doi: 10.1016/s0031-9384(97)00305-3.


The effect of cage size on spontaneous locomotor rhythms of laboratory mice was studied under simulated light-dark (12:12) cycles. On-line image analysis of bodily displacement yielded a locomotor signal over a period of 3 days. Continuous wavelet transform was applied to the signal, and ensemble averaging of eight mice revealed in the time-frequency plot bouts of increased motor activities. Notably, there were two bouts in the dark corresponding to ultradians of periods below 5 h: a first bout at the dark onset (at 0.6-1.0 cycle/h), and a second bout during the second half of the dark period (at 0.4-0.7 cycle/h). These increases of activity were more intense and distinct when the animals were kept inside the larger cage. Furthermore, the first bout disappeared when the animals were kept in the small cage for 3 days.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activity Cycles / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Fourier Analysis
  • Housing, Animal*
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Motor Activity / physiology*