Table_1_Automated Home-Cage Monitoring During Acute Experimental Colitis in Mice.docx (670.73 kB)
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Table_1_Automated Home-Cage Monitoring During Acute Experimental Colitis in Mice.docx

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posted on 22.10.2021, 04:56 by Eva Zentrich, Steven R. Talbot, André Bleich, Christine Häger

For ethical and legal reasons it is necessary to assess the severity of procedures in animal experimentation. To estimate the degree of pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm, objective methods that provide gradebale parameters need to be tested and validated for various models. In this context, automated home-cage monitoring becomes more important as a contactless, objective, continuous and non-invasive method. The aim of this study was to examine a recently developed large scale automated home-cage monitoring system (Digital Ventilated Cage, DVC®) with regard to the applicability and added value for severity assessment in a frequently used acute colitis mouse model. Acute colitis was induced in female C57BL/6J mice by varying doses of DSS (1.5 and 2.5%), matched controls received water only (0%). Besides DVC® activity monitoring and nest scoring, model specific parameters like body weight, clinical colitis score, and intestinal histo-pathology were used. In a second approach, we questioned whether DVC® can be used to detect an influence of different handling methods on the behavior of mice. Therefore, we compared activity patterns of mice that underwent tunnel vs. tail handling for routine animal care procedures. In DSS treated mice, disease specific parameters confirmed induction of a graded colitis. In line with this, DVC® revealed reduced activity in these animals. Furthermore, the system displayed stress-related activity changes due to the restraining procedures necessary in DSS-treatment groups. However, no significant differences between tunnel vs. tail handling procedures were detected. For further analysis of the data, a binary classifier was applied to categorize two severity levels (burdened vs. not burdened) based on activity and body weight. In all DSS-treatment groups data points were allocated to the burdened level, in contrast to a handling group. The fraction of “burdened” animals reflected well the course of colitis development. In conclusion, automated home-cage monitoring by DVC® enabled severity assessment in a DSS-induced colitis model equally well as gold standard clinical parameters. In addition, it revealed changes in activity patterns due to routine handling procedures applied in experimental model work. This indicates that large scale home-cage monitoring can be integrated into routine severity assessment in biomedical research.

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