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Open Access Characterization of Train-Induced Vibration and its Effect on Fecal Corticosterone Metabolites in Mice

Excessive environmental vibrations can have deleterious effects on animal health and experimental results, but they remain poorly understood in the animal laboratory setting. The aims of this study were to characterize train-associated vibration in a rodent vivarium and to assess the effects of this vibration on the reproductive success and fecal corticosterone metabolite levels of mice. An instrumented cage, featuring a high-sensitivity microphone and accelerometer, was used to characterize the vibrations and sound in a vivarium that is near an active railroad. The vibrations caused by the passing trains are 3 times larger in amplitude than are the ambient facility vibrations, whereas most of the associated sound was below the audible range for mice. Mice housed in the room closest to the railroad tracks had pregnancy rates that were 50% to 60% lower than those of mice of the same strains but bred in other parts of the facility. To verify the effect of the train vibrations, we used a custom-built electromagnetic shaker to simulate the train-induced vibrations in a controlled environment. Fecal pellets were collected from male and female mice that were exposed to the simulated vibrations and from unexposed control animals. Analysis of the fecal samples revealed that vibrations similar to those produced by a passing train can increase the levels of fecal corticosterone metabolites in female mice. These increases warrant attention to the effects of vibration on mice and, consequently, on reproduction and experimental outcomes.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 2: Laboratory Animal Resources Center and Department of Biomedical Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 3: Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, Austria 4: Laboratory Animal Resources Center and Department of Biomedical Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon;, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: November 1, 2015

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  • The Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (JAALAS) serves as an official communication vehicle for the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS). The journal includes a section of refereed articles and a section of AALAS association news. The mission of the refereed section of the journal is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information on animal biology, technology, facility operations, management, and compliance as relevant to the AALAS membership. JAALAS accepts research reports (data-based) or scholarly reports (literature-based), with the caveat that all articles, including solicited manuscripts, must include appropriate references and must undergo peer review.

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