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FASEB J 2019 Mar; 33(3):3097-3111







Space recommendations for mice made in the Guide for Care and Use of Laboratory Animals have not changed since 1972, despite important improvements in husbandry and caging practices. The 1996 version of the Guide put forth a challenge to investigators to produce new data evaluating the effects of space allocation on the well-being of mice. In this review, we summarize many studies published in response to this challenge. We distinguish between studies using ventilated or nonventilated caging systems and those evaluating reproductive performance or general well-being of adult mice. We discuss how these studies might affect current housing density considerations in both production and research settings and consider gaps in mouse housing density research. Additionally, we discuss reliable methods used to monitor and quantify general well-being of research mice. Collectively, this large body of new data suggests that husbandry practices dictating optimal breeding schemes and space allocation per mouse can be reconsidered. Specifically, these data demonstrate that prewean culling of litters has no benefit, trio breeding is an effective production strategy without adversely affecting pup survival and well-being, and housing of adult mice at densities of up to twice current Guide recommendations does not compromise well-being for most strains.-Svenson, K. L., Paigen, B. Recommended housing densities for research mice: filling the gap in data-driven alternatives.


The authors thank Mark Adams, Janan Eppig, Ken Paigen, Marge Strobel, and Linda Waterman (all from The Jackson Laboratory) for review and helpful comments on this manuscript.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 International