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New Studies Show that Lab Mice Studies May Be Skewed

Cage Temperature Skews Lab Mice Studies?

When studies are done on lab mice, it’s possible that those studies may be skewed by the temperature of the cages. Recent studies showed that cold cages may have been hiding the effects of diet on certain metabolic disorders in mice. Mice kept in colder cages use more energy by moving around more often to stay warm, which may be increase their blood pressure and heart rate. Researchers have concluded that better results can be achieved by warming up the mice when studying them in the laboratory, ensuring that cold temperatures cannot make it difficult to discover inflammation.

Check out the below article for more on why that is …

Chilly cages may skew disease studies in lab mice

Thermal stress hides uptick in inflammation when rodents fed high-cholesterol diet

By Chris Samoray
2:30pm, November 13, 2015

Keeping mice in cold cages hides the effects of diet on metabolic disorders. Warming up those mice might lead to more reliable study results, researchers conclude in a study published online November 5 in Cell Metabolism.

Lab mice living in warmer habitats and fed high-fat and high-cholesterol diets showed more inflammation than they did when fed the same diets in colder homes. In mice engineered to be prone to metabolic disorders, the inflammation sped up the progression of atherosclerosis, a disease that causes hardening of arteries. But the inflammation surprisingly didn’t affect how well cells respond to insulin, a problem for people with obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Although an ideal temperature for mice might be closer to 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit), lab mice are typically kept at temperatures between 19° C and 22° C (66° F to 71° F). That temperature range might be OK for fully clothed humans, but it stresses mice, says study coauthor Ajay Chawla, a molecular physiologist at the University of California, San Francisco.

To keep warm, mice move around more and expend more energy than they would at higher, more comfortable temperatures. Heart rate and blood pressure go up, too. And unlike people, who can cope with the stress of being uncomfortably cool — by turning up the heat or putting on more clothes, for example — the mice experience this thermal stress all the time, Chawla notes. “It’s one thing to live in stress and have it dissipate,” he says. “It’s another to live in this kind of stress forever.”

…… Temperature doesn’t have a “subtle” affect, says Chawla. Instead, it causes “profound” changes. “To move forward in human disease, we have to pay attention to this one variable,” he says.

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To read the full article please see Science News

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