Locomotor Activity: refinement, reduction and replicability ‘round the clock in animal studies

Scientific Director
Digilab Solutions
Tecniplast S.p.A

Dr. Stefano Gaburro has a strong academic background in preclinical research (mainly neuroscience). In his former role at DSI and now at Tecniplast, Dr. Gaburro has helped researchers refine their scientific approaches to improve their methodologies and use of lab products. Aside of his primary role, he has also served as Steering Committee member for the American Physiological Society (Neuroscience and Physiology in Industry) for many years.

A growing body of evidence suggests that Home Cage Monitoring studies are becoming key tools for in vivo animal research for three main reasons: i) reduction in animal distress thereby increasing welfare, ii) minimization of biases (wanted and unwanted), iii) increased reproducibility of data.

Taking into consideration what current home cage monitoring systems can offer, a completely patented novel solution has been created to simultaneously track locomotor activity of rodents 24/7 while in their home cage (where they spend 99% of their life) in single- or group-housed conditions.

Such technology opens the possibilities to perform more relevant studies (e.g. at night, where rodents are mostly active). Also reducing external equipment used when animals are tested in sequence across the experimental day, for example, classical behavioral experiments.

With our Home Cage Monitoring we have shown:

  • Time locked adaptation of inverting to day-night rhythms or dietary restrictions indicating that the animals adapts much quicker than expected according to the conditions provided.
  • A multicentric study demonstrated that, despite all factors being controlled (n=X, age, sex, breed), the diurnal locomotor activity varied across different centers mainly due to environmental factors, therefore raising an important point in data reproducibility.
  • Increased sensitivity when detecting hypoactivity in stroke models as well as amelioration of locomotor activity after 21 days as compared to classical open field where the recovery effects remained undetected.
  • Presymptomatic recognition of neurodegenerative disease (ALS) based on new digital biomarker that would allow novel treatment development.

Overall, the system is proven, and demonstrates, an unparalleled solution to detect events of change in activity across different experimental conditions.

This Virtual Poster has been made available to the scientific community by Tecniplast S.p.A.

Tecniplast S.p.A.

Tecniplast holds a strong track record in the design and delivery of innovative, high-quality products for the laboratory animal industry worldwide. As of today, we have delivered more than 23,000 IVC racks while our installed base of rack/cage washers surpasses 500 units, worldwide.

Tecniplast S.p.A.

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