Title (eng)

Effects of more natural housing conditions on the muscular and skeletal characteristics of female C57BL/6J mice


Paul Mieske   Federal German Institute for Risk Assessment

Kai Diederich   Federal German Institute for Risk Assessment

Lars Lewejohann   Federal German Institute for Risk Assessment

Juliane Preikschat   Federal German Institute for Risk Assessment

Ute Hobbiesiefken   Federal German Institute for Risk Assessment

Rupert Palme   University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna

Laura Brylka   University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf

Julia Scheinpflug   Federal German Institute for Risk Assessment

Timur Alexander Yorgan   University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf


Springer Nature

Description (eng)

Enrichment of home cages in laboratory experiments offers clear advantages, but has been criticized in some respects. First, there is a lack of definition, which makes methodological uniformity difficult. Second, there is concern that the enrichment of home cages may increase the variance of results in experiments. Here, the influence of more natural housing conditions on physiological parameters of female C57BL/6J mice was investigated from an animal welfare point of view. For this purpose, the animals were kept in three different housing conditions: conventional cage housing, enriched housing and the semi naturalistic environment. The focus was on musculoskeletal changes after long-term environmental enrichment.The housing conditions had a long-term effect on the body weight of the test animals. The more complex and natural the home cage, the heavier the animals. This was associated with increased adipose deposits in the animals. There were no significant changes in muscle and bone characteristics except for single clues (femur diameter, bone resorption marker CTX-1). Additionally, the animals in the semi naturalistic environment (SNE) were found to have the fewest bone anomalies. Housing in the SNE appears to have the least effect on stress hormone concentrations. The lowest oxygen uptake was observed in enriched cage housing.Despite increasing values, observed body weights were in the normal and strain-typical range. Overall, musculoskeletal parameters were slightly improved and age-related effects appear to have been attenuated. The variances in the results were not increased by more natural housing. This confirms the suitability of the applied housing conditions to ensure and increase animal welfare in laboratory experiments.

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Environmental Enrichment; Bone Mass; Seminaturalistic Environment; Alzheimers-Disease; Physical-Activity; Laboratory Mice; Metabolic-Rate; Fecal Samples; Weight-Gain; Muscle Mass

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o:605 Publications / University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna