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.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding for this research and publication was supported in part by the Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Genomics [1I01RX000441-01A2 (MPI) to CK], a Career Development Award-level 2 from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs Rehabilitation Research and Development Service (F7212W to JT), the United States Department of Agriculture (ARZT-1360220-H23-150 to JT), the National Institutes of Health (NIDDK R01-DK078985 to CK, 2P30-DK050456 to CB, and 1R01-DK080782 to CW), and CONICYT, Gobierno de Chile, Programa FONDECYT Regular (1150274 to CPL). Funding agencies did not have a role in the study design, data collection, analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
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