Play in Rats: Association across Contexts and Types, and Analysis of Structure

Play has been proposed as a promising indicator of positive animal welfare. We aimed to study play in rats across contexts (conspecific/heterospecific) and types (social: pinning, being pinned; solitary: scampering), and we investigated its structure using behavioral sequence analysis. Group-housed (three per cage) adolescent male Lister Hooded rats (n = 21) were subjected to a […]

Housing and welfare in laboratory rats: effects of cage stocking density and behavioural predictors of welfare

Using male and female Alderley Park (Wistar-derived) rats housed in single-sex groups in standard laboratory cages, we looked at the effect of group size (one, three, five or eight) on competitive behaviour and time budgeting (initial and longer term), changes in their serum testosterone (males), corticosterone and antibody concentrations, and organ pathology at age 16 […]

Cage Size Preference in Rats in the Laboratory

The size of an enclosure is an integral part of how well it accommodates a nonhuman animal’s welfare; however, most enrichment studies concentrate on modifying the area inside the enclosure rather than enlarging it. It has been suggested that rats have little need for more cage space, but there is no empirical evidence about rats’ […]

Neural plasticity, neuropeptides and anxiety in animals — implications for understanding and treating affective disorder following traumatic stress in humans

Exposure of rats to cats (predator stress) lastingly increases rodent anxiety-like behavior (ALB) in the elevated plus-maze. Previous work shows that lasting changes in ALB following predator stress depend on NMDA and CCKB receptors. In this paper we describe the effects of differing degrees of predator exposure on behavior. Effects depend on the behavioral measure. […]

Physiological and hormonal responses to novelty exposure in rats are mainly related to ongoing behavioral activity

Stress research has been dominated by a circular type of reasoning that occurrence of a stress response is bad. Consequently, the stimulus is often interpreted as stressful in terms of aversiveness involving uncontrollability and unpredictability, which may have maladaptive and pathological consequences. However, the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis and sympathico-adrenomedullary (SAM) system are not only activated […]

Structure of rat behavior in hole-board: I) multivariate analysis of response to anxiety

Aim of present paper was to carry out an analysis of rat behavior in hole-board following different multivariate approaches. Thirty male Wistar rats were observed in a hole-board apparatus and their behavior recorded for 10 min through a digital videocamera for a following frame-by-frame analysis. Both descriptive and multivariate analyses were used. Descriptive analysis showed […]

Early stress leads to effects on estrous cycle and differential responses to stress

Early stress leads to effects on estrous cycle and differential responses to stress. Physiol Behav—Women are more susceptible than men to stress-related mental disorders. However, few animal studies have been conducted on females. Given the interactions between gonadic hormones and the hypothalamo–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis, we hypothesized that the effects of early stress may be different […]

More than numbers matter: The effect of social factors on behaviour and welfare of laboratory rodents and non-human primates☆

With the development of laboratory animal science, increasing attention has been given to the possible influence of housing and husbandry on the behaviour and welfare of laboratory animals as well as on the scientific integrity. With the present paper, we aim to contribute to this knowledge by reviewing existing literature on how social factors influence […]

Selective disturbance of pain sensitivity after social isolation

The effects of social isolation or NMDA-receptor antagonists on pain sensitivity have repeatedly been described. However, the mechanisms underlying the alterations of pain perception in these models still remain a matter of debate. Thus, we aimed to determine the long-lasting effects of subchronic ketamine treatment and social isolation on the C- and Aδ-fiber-mediated nociception. Wistar […]

Defeat is a major stressor in males while social instability is stressful mainly in females: Towards the development of a social stress model in female rats

Social stress models appear useful in elucidating the interrelationship between stress, mood disorders, and drug efficacy. However, reliable social stress models for females are virtually lacking. The aim of this study was to determine stress-related consequences of (a) defeat in aggressive encounters and (b) social instability, in male and female rats. Defeat in male and […]