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Open Access Effects of Cage Density on Behavior in Young Adult Mice

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Optimal housing conditions for mice can be achieved by minimizing environmental variables, such as those that may contribute to anxiety-like behavior. This study evaluated the effects of cage size on juvenile mice through assessment of differences in weaning weight, locomotor skills, and anxiety-like behavior. Eighteen pairs of male and pregnant female Swiss–Webster (Cr:SW) mice were housed in 3 different caging scenarios, providing 429, 505, or 729 cm2 of space. Litters were standardized to 10 pups per litter in each cage. Mice reared in each caging scenario were assessed with the open-field, light–dark exploration, and elevated plus-maze tests. No differences in weaning weight were noted. Mice reared in the 505- and 729-cm2 cages explored a significantly larger area of the open-field arena than did those in the 429-cm2 cages. Those reared in the 505-cm2 cages spent more time in the center of the open field than did those in the 729-cm2 cages, suggesting that anxiety-like behavior may be increased in the animals housed in the larger cages. This study did not establish a consistent link between decreased floor space and increased anxiety-like behavior; neither does there appear to be a consistent effect of available floor area on the development of locomotor skills on mouse pups.

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Publication date: 2007-08-01

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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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