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

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

Author: Stefano Gaburro, PhD

Title:  Scientific Director – Digilab Solutions

Affiliation:  Tecniplast S.p.A

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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 Group, leading company in the lab animal industry since 1949, designs, manufactures and distributes equipment for vivaria. Thanks to our 360 ° view of the needs of a modern facility we can offer the most comprehensive product portfolio, ranging from housing systems to laminar flow cabinets, from aquatic solutions to washing equipment, from automations to decontamination services, all tied together by logistics products, monitoring and analysis platforms. “Innovation through passion” is not just an empty boast but our soul always aiming at the future: the best examples are the revolutionary DVC® – Digital Ventilated Cage and Atlantis rack washer, that enhance the threshold in animal welfare, users experience and management, projecting the vivarium into the next era.


Home Cage Monitoring; DVC; Digital Ventilated Cage; Stroke; ALS; Neurodegenerative Disease; Reproducibility; Environmental Factors; Multi-centric Study; 24/7 monitoring; Continuous Data; Locomotor Activity