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J Am Assoc Lab Anim Sci. 2013 Jul;52(4):437-43.

Animal care practices in experiments on biological rhythms and sleep: report of the Joint Task Force of the Society for Research on Biological Rhythms and the Sleep Research Society.

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Department of Biology and Program in Neuroscience and Behavior, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, USA.


Many physiological and molecular processes are strongly rhythmic and profoundly influenced by sleep. The continuing effort of biological, medical, and veterinary science to understand the temporal organization of cellular, physiological, behavioral and cognitive function holds great promise for the improvement of the welfare of animals and human beings. As a result, attending veterinarians and IACUC are often charged with the responsibility of evaluating experiments on such rhythms or the effects of sleep (or its deprivation) in vertebrate animals. To produce interpretable data, animals used in such research must often be maintained in carefully controlled (often constant) conditions with minimal disruption. The lighting environment must be strictly controlled, frequent changes of cages and bedding are undesirable, and daily visual checks are often not possible. Thus deviations from the standard housing procedures specified in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals are often necessary. This report reviews requirements for experiments on biological rhythms and sleep and discusses how scientific considerations can be reconciled with the recommendations of the Guide.

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