Understanding the physiological implications of caging conditions for mice is crucial in improving the replicability and reliability of animal research. Individual caging of mice is known to alter mouse psychology, such as triggering depression-like symptoms in mice, suggesting that caging conditions could have negative effects on mice. Therefore, we hypothesized that individual caging could affect the physical composition of outbred mice. To investigate this, dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) was used to compare the mass, bone mineral content (BMC), bone mineral density (BMD), lean tissue percentage and fat tissue percentage between group and individual caged mice. We also conducted open field test to compare mouse activities in different caging conditions. Our results showed significantly reduced BMD and lean tissue percentage and significantly increased fat tissue percentage in individually-caged male mice. Furthermore, there were no differences in body mass and activity between the grouped and individual mice, suggesting that these physical alterations were not induced by group-related activity. In this study, we conclude that individual caging could alter the body composition of mice without affecting external morphology.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by Yonsei University (2017-22-0072), Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI, HI14C3319), and National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2017M3A9E2058046). We thank Medikors Inc., Korea, for the InAlzyer instrument and the technical help provided for imaging. This study was a part of the Korea Broadcasting System (KBS) documentary broadcasted on the 24th May 2017.
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