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Open Access Effects of Housing Density and Cage Floor Space on Three Strains of Young Adult Inbred Mice

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Some recommendations in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (the Guide) are based on best professional judgment. Our current efforts are directed toward replacement with data-driven standards. We demonstrated earlier that young adult C57BL/6J mice could be housed with half the floor space recommended in the Guide without discernable negative effects. This report extends that work by examining optimal housing densities for young adult male and female BALB/cJ, NOD/LtJ, and FVB/NJ mice. These 8-week studies were initiated with 3-week-old BALB/cJ and NOD/LtJ mice and 3- to 5-week-old FVB/NJ mice housed in three cage types. We adjusted the number of mice per cage to house them with the floor space recommended in the Guide (approximately 12 in2 [ca. 77 cm2] per mouse) down to 5.6 in2 [ca. 36 cm2] per mouse. Early-onset aggression occurred among FVB/NJ male mice housed at all densities in cages having 51.7 in2 (ca. 333 cm2) or 112.9 in2 (ca. 728 cm2) of space. FVB/NJ male mice housed in shoebox (67.6 in2 [ca. 436 cm2]) cages did not exhibit aggression until the fifth week. Urinary testosterone output was density-dependent only for BALB/cJ male mice in shoebox cages (output decreased with increasing density) and FVB/NJ male mice. We conclude that all but FVB/NJ male mice can be housed with half the floor space specified in the Guide. The aggression noted for male FVB/NJ mice may have been due to their age span, although this did not impact negatively on the female FVB/NJ mice.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: The Jackson Laboratory, 600 Main Street, Bar Harbor, Maine 04609 2: Department of Psychology, Brock University, 500 Glenridge Avenue, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada L2S 3A1

Publication date: 2005-08-01

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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