Effect of Housing Types on Growth, Feeding, Physical Activity, and Anxiety-Like Behavior in Male Sprague-Dawley Rats

Jennifer A. Teske, Claudio Esteban Perez-Leighton, Emily E. Noble, Chuanfeng Wang, Charles J. Billington, Catherine M. Kotz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


Background: Animal welfare and accurate data collection are equally important in rodent research. Housing influences study outcomes and can challenge studies that monitor feeding, so housing choice needs to be evidence-based. The goal of these studies was to (1) compare established measures of well-being between rodents housed in wire grid-bottom floors with a resting platform compared to solid-bottom floors with bedding and (2) determine whether presence of a chewable device (Nylabone) affects orexin-A-induced hyperphagia. Methods: Rodents were crossed over to the alternate housing twice after 2-week periods. Time required to complete food intake measurements was recorded as an indicator of feasibility. Food intake stimulated by orexin-A was compared with and without the Nylabone. Blood corticosterone and hypothalamic BDNF were assessed. Results: Housing had no effect on growth, energy expenditure, corticosterone, hypothalamic BDNF, behavior, and anxiety measures. Food intake was disrupted after housing cross-over. Time required to complete food intake measurements was significantly higher for solid-bottom bedded cages. The Nylabone had no effect on orexin-A-stimulated feeding. Conclusion: Well-being is not significantly different between rodents housed on grid-bottom floors and those in solid-bottom-bedded cages based on overall growth and feeding but alternating between housing confounds measures of feeding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4
JournalFrontiers in Nutrition
StatePublished - Feb 4 2016



  • anxiety
  • cognition
  • environmental enrichment
  • microenvironment
  • stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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