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Neuroscientist. 2014 Aug;20(4):313-325. Epub 2014 Jan 6.

Resting Is Rusting: A Critical View on Rodent Wheel-Running Behavior.

Author information

1
RG Animal Models in Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Central Institute of Mental Health, Medical Faculty Mannheim, Heidelberg University, Mannheim, Germany.
2
RG Animal Models in Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Central Institute of Mental Health, Medical Faculty Mannheim, Heidelberg University, Mannheim, Germany peter.gass@zi-mannheim.de.

Abstract

Physical exercise is known to exert various beneficial effects on brain function and bodily health throughout life. In biomedical research, these effects are widely studied by introducing running wheels into the cages of laboratory rodents. Yet, although rodents start to run in the wheels immediately, and perform wheel-running excessively on a voluntary basis, the biological significance of wheel-running is still not clear. Here, we review the current literature on wheel-running and discuss potentially negative side-effects that may give cause for concern. We particularly emphasize on analogies of wheel-running with stereotypic and addictive behavior to stimulate further research on this topic.

KEYWORDS:

addiction; mice; physical exercise; rodents; stereotypies; wheel-running

PMID:
24395338
DOI:
10.1177/1073858413516798

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