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Type: Journal article
Title: The assessment of general well-being using spontaneous burrowing behaviour in a short-term model of chemotherapy-induced mucositis in the rat
Author: Whittaker, A.
Lymn, K.
Nicholson, A.
Howarth, G.
Citation: Laboratory Animals, 2015; 49(1):30-39
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Issue Date: 2015
ISSN: 0023-6772
Statement of
A L Whittaker, K A Lymn, A Nicholson, G S Howarth
Abstract: Mucositis is a common and serious side-effect experienced by cancer patients during treatment with chemotherapeutic agents. Consequently, programmes of research focus centre on the elucidation of novel therapeutics for alleviation of mucositis symptoms, and these frequently use animal models. However, although these models are assumed to be painful and distressing to the animal, endpoints are difficult to determine. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether a change in burrowing behaviour could provide an indication of disease onset and potentially be applied as a humane endpoint. Baseline burrowing behaviour was measured in healthy animals on three occasions by determining the weight of gravel displaced from a hollow tube. Mucositis was then induced in the same animals by intraperitoneal injection of 5-fluorouracil (150 mg/kg) and burrowing behaviour recorded over three consecutive days. Standard measures of disease progression, including body weight loss and clinical score, were also made. The presence of mucositis was confirmed at necropsy by findings of decreased duodenal and colon lengths, and reduced liver, spleen and thymus weights in comparison with non-treated control animals. Histological score of the jejunum and ileum was also significantly increased. Mucositis onset coincided with a decrease in mean burrowing behaviour which was progressive, however this result did not achieve statistical significance (P = 0.66).We conclude that burrowing may be a useful indicator of inflammation in the mucositis model, although this requires further characterization. Pre-selection of animals into treatment groups based on their prior burrowing performance should be pursued in further studies.
Keywords: burrowing; mucositis; pain assessment; refinement
Rights: © The Author(s) 2014
RMID: 0030009594
DOI: 10.1177/0023677214546913
Appears in Collections:Animal and Veterinary Sciences publications

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