Effects of Cage Enrichment on Behavior, Welfare and Outcome Variability in Female Mice

Bailoo, Jeremy Davidson; Murphy, Eimear Mary; Boada Saña, Maria; Varholick, Justin Adam; Hintze, Sara Anna Elisabet; Baussière, Caroline; Hahn, Kerstin Caroline; Göpfert, Christine; Palme, Rupert; Völkl, Bernhard; Würbel, Hanno (2018). Effects of Cage Enrichment on Behavior, Welfare and Outcome Variability in Female Mice. Frontiers in behavioral neuroscience, 12(232), p. 232. Frontiers Research Foundation 10.3389/fnbeh.2018.00232

[img]
Preview
Text
fnbeh-12-00232.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution (CC-BY).

Download (3MB) | Preview

The manner in which laboratory rodents are housed is driven by economics (minimal use of space and resources), ergonomics (ease of handling and visibility of animals), hygiene, and standardization (reduction of variation). This has resulted in housing conditions that lack sensory and motor stimulation and restrict the expression of species-typical behavior. In mice, such housing conditions have been associated with indicators of impaired welfare, including abnormal repetitive behavior (stereotypies, compulsive behavior), enhanced anxiety and stress reactivity, and thermal stress. However, due to concerns that more complex environmental conditions might increase variation in experimental results, there has been considerable resistance to the implementation of environmental enrichment beyond the provision of nesting material. Here, using 96 C57BL/6 and SWISS female mice, respectively, we systematically varied environmental enrichment across four levels spanning the range of common enrichment strategies: (1) bedding alone; (2) bedding + nesting material; (3) deeper bedding + nesting material + shelter + increased vertical space; and (4) semi-naturalistic conditions, including weekly changes of enrichment items. We studied how these different forms of environmental enrichment affected measures of animal welfare, including home-cage behavior (time–budget and stereotypic behavior), anxiety (open field behavior, elevated plus-maze behavior), growth (food and water intake, body mass), stress physiology (glucocorticoid metabolites in fecal boluses and adrenal mass), brain function (recurrent perseveration in a two-choice guessing task) and emotional valence (judgment bias). Our results highlight the difficulty in making general recommendations across common strains of mice and for selecting enrichment strategies within specific strains. Overall, the greatest benefit was observed in animals housed with the greatest degree of enrichment. Thus, in the super-enriched housing condition, stereotypic behavior, behavioral measures of anxiety, growth and stress physiology varied in a manner consistent with improved animal welfare compared to the other housing conditions with less enrichment. Similar to other studies, we found no evidence, in the measures assessed here, that environmental enrichment increased variation in experimental results.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Veterinary Public Health Institute > Animal Welfare Division
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Veterinary Public Health Institute
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology (DIP) > Institute of Animal Pathology
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology (DIP)
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH)

Graduate School:

Graduate School for Cellular and Biomedical Sciences (GCB)

UniBE Contributor:

Bailoo, Jeremy Davidson; Boada Saña, Maria; Varholick, Justin Adam; Hintze, Sara Anna Elisabet; Hahn, Kerstin Caroline; Göpfert, Christine; Völkl, Bernhard and Würbel, Hanno

Subjects:

600 Technology > 630 Agriculture
500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)

ISSN:

1662-5153

Publisher:

Frontiers Research Foundation

Language:

English

Submitter:

Lilian Karin Smith-Wirth

Date Deposited:

27 Mar 2019 09:53

Last Modified:

23 Oct 2019 04:47

Publisher DOI:

10.3389/fnbeh.2018.00232

PubMed ID:

30416435

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.125705

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/125705

Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback