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J Comp Physiol B. 2009 May;179(4):519-33. doi: 10.1007/s00360-008-0330-4. Epub 2009 Jan 8.

Morphological, physiological and behavioural evaluation of a 'Mice in Space' housing system.

Author information

  • 1Vegetative Anatomy, Center of Space Medicine Berlin, Neuromuscular Group, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Freie und Humboldt Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany. dieter.blottner@charite.de

Abstract

Environmental conditions likely affect physiology and behaviour of mice used for life sciences research on Earth or in Space. Here, we analysed the effects of cage confinement on the weightbearing musculoskeletal system, behaviour and stress of wild-type mice (C57BL/6JRj, 30 g b.wt., total n = 24) housed for 25 days in a prototypical ground-based and fully automated life support habitat device called "Mice in Space" (MIS). Compared with control housing (individually ventilated cages) the MIS mice revealed no significant changes in soleus muscle size and myofiber distribution (type I vs. II) and quality of bone (3-D microarchitecture and mineralisation of calvaria, spine and femur) determined by confocal and micro-computed tomography. Corticosterone metabolism measured non-invasively (faeces) monitored elevated adrenocortical activity at only start of the MIS cage confinement (day 1). Behavioural tests (i.e., grip strength, rotarod, L/D box, elevated plus-maze, open field, aggressiveness) performed subsequently revealed only minor changes in motor performance (MIS vs. controls). The MIS habitat will not, on its own, produce major effects that could confound interpretation of data induced by microgravity exposure during spaceflight. Our results may be even more helpful in developing multidisciplinary protocols with adequate scenarios addressing molecular to systems levels using mice of various genetic phenotypes in many laboratories.

PMID:
19130060
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2755731
Free PMC Article

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