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Effect of Conditioning on the Increase of Heart Rate and Body Temperature Provoked by Handling in the Mouse

Klaas Kramer, Heleen van de Weerd, Anne Mulder, Caroline Van Heijningen, Vera Baumans, René Remie, Hans-Peter Voss and Bert F.M. van Zutphen

To assess the effect of procedures on animal welfare, various physiological parameters, such as body weight, hormone levels in plasma and/or urine, heart rate (HR), blood pressure and body temperature (BT), can be used. When measuring physiological parameters with techniques involving restraint of the animals, the results must be interpreted with caution, since restraint itself may have an effect on those parameters. Radio-telemetry, using an implantable transmitter, provides a way to obtain more accurate and reliable physiological measurements from freely moving animals in their own environment. In this study, we have used radio-telemetry to investigate the influence of conditioning on the increase of HR and BT as provoked by handling of mice. It was found that, after a conditioning period of 12 days, the increase of HR due to handling was significantly reduced.