On-ground housing in "Mice Drawer System" (MDS) cage affects locomotor behaviour but not anxiety in male mice

Luciano Simone, Alessandro Bartolomucci, Paola Palanza, Stefano Parmigiani

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2 Scopus citations


In the present study adult male mice were housed for 21 days in a housing modules of the Mice Drawer System (MDS). MDS is the facility that will support the research on board the International Space Station (ISS). Our investigation focused on: circadian rhythmicity of wide behavioural categories such as locomotor activity, food intake/drinking and resting; emotionality in the elevated plus maze (EPM); body weight. Housing in the MDS determined a strong up-regulation of activity and feeding behaviour and a concomitant decrease in inactivity. Importantly, housing in the MDS disrupted circadian rhythmicity in mice and also determined a decrease in body weight. Finally, when mice were tested in the EPM a clear hyperactivity (i.e. increased total transitions) was found, while no evidence for altered anxiety was detected. In conclusion, housing adult male mice in the MDS housing modules may affect their behaviour, circadian rhythmicity while having no effect on anxiety. It is suggested that to allow adaptation to the peculiar housing allowed by MDS a longer housing duration is needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)453-461
Number of pages9
JournalActa Astronautica
Issue number6-7
StatePublished - Mar 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Supported by ASI Grant no I/R/351/02. Authors wish to thank Dr. Giancarlo Falcetti and Dr. Chiara Tenconi, Alcatel Alenia Space Italia ex-Laben, for their technical support and critical revision of the manuscript. Romano Romani is acknowledged for technical assistance.


  • Biological rhythm
  • Individual housing
  • International Space Station
  • Space flight
  • Stress
  • Welfare


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