Influence of environmental enrichment and handling on the acute stress response in individually housed mice

M K Meijer, R Sommer, B M Spruijt, L F M van Zutphen, V Baumans
Laboratory Animals 2007, 41 (2): 161-73
In this study we investigated the effect of environmental enrichment and handling on the acute physiological stress response caused by short periods of restraint in individually housed female mice. Heart rate (HR) and body temperature (BT) were measured by radiotelemetry and compared with plasma corticosterone (pCORT) levels. Also, postmortem thymus weight and tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) activity were assessed. The acute stress response was seen in both HR and BT. Enrichment and handling were found to increase rather than decrease this stress response, but pCORT values, measured 90 min after restraint, suggested a lower stress response in the enriched groups. No effect was found with thymus weight or TH as parameters.

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