Date presented: December 10, 2019
Abstract: Laboratory mice and rats have been shown to prefer temperatures that are several degrees warmer than the environments in which they are typically housed. Animals housed under warmed environmental conditions have been shown to have decreased metabolic rates, lower heart rates and blood pressure, and improved immune function. Various disciplines of medical investigations, including cancer models, atherosclerosis, liver disease, toxicology and microbiome research, have published on blunting of disease phenotypes when mice are housed under Guide-recommended temperature conditions (20-26°C). While cage accommodations can be made to include warmth through increased stocking density of animals and provision of nesting materials and shelters, these efforts may not be sufficient or appropriate to result in consistent and reproducible data outcomes. Within the animal research industry, creative approaches to warming sections of cages and racks or increasing overall room temperatures are being explored with beneficial effect. Environmental and procedural interventions for laboratory mice and rats will be reviewed relative to the importance of achieving reproducibility and repeatability of rodent studies.
Presenter: Dr. F. Claire Hankenson
Dr. Hankenson is the director of Campus Animal Resources and the attending veterinarian at Michigan State University. She holds a faculty position as Professor of Laboratory Animal Medicine within the Department of Pathobiology and Diagnostic Investigation at the College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Hankenson obtained her veterinary degree from Purdue University, completed her graduate work and residency at the University of Washington, Seattle, and then became a Diplomate of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (ACLAM) in 2002. Dr. Hankenson has been active on committees within AALAS since 2002, served on the Executive Board for ACLAM as ACLAM President in 2015, and is an ad-hoc specialist with AAALAC. In addition, she is currently a member of the PRIM&R Board of Directors. Claire is an active researcher studying refinements in laboratory animal practice with mice and rats, including genotyping methods, rodent surgery support, thermoregulation issues and humane endpoints.
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