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Research article2014Peer reviewedOpen access

Housing breeding mice in three different IVC systems: maternal performance and pup development

Spangenberg, Elin; Wallenbeck, Anna; Eklöf, A.-C.; Carlstedt-Duke, J.; Tjäder, Solveig


A proper cage environment is essential for the welfare of laboratory mice, especially for females during the energy demanding lactation period and for pups during early development and growth. The most common housing system for laboratory mice is individually ventilated cages (IVCs) of which there are different layouts and ventilation strategies available on the market. The present study investigates the impact of cage environment in three different IVC types, on the maternal performance of females, and pup development and growth in C57BL/6NCrl and Crl:NMRI Foxn1nu mice. The results show differences in in-cage climate, female body weight, pup growth, feed and water consumption, and nest quality between cage types. There was a distinct effect of genotype in these differences, with the main effects found in NMRI NU mice. The results indicate that IVC systems might need to be managed differently for mice of different types and/or different physiological status. Many of the differences seen between cage systems could be drawn to the physical construction of the cage, such as location of feed hopper and location of air inlet and outlet. In conclusion, IVC in-cage climate affects the maternal performance of female mice and pup growth, but with differences between the two strains tested.


housing; laboratory animal welfare; husbandry; refinement; environmental tolerance

Published in

Laboratory Animals
2014, Volume: 48, number: 3, pages: 193-206