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Animals 2014, 4(4), 693-711;

Sex Differences in Physiological Acclimatization after Transfer in Wistar Rats

Department of Animals in Science & Society, Division of Animal Welfare & Laboratory Animal Science, Veterinary Faculty, Utrecht University, Utrecht, 3584 CM, The Netherlands
Harlan Laboratories B.V., P.O. Box 553, Venray, 5800 AN, The Netherlands
Department of Occupational Health, Safety and Environment, Free University, Amsterdam, 1081 HV, The Netherlands
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 27 June 2014 / Revised: 16 October 2014 / Accepted: 22 October 2014 / Published: 30 October 2014
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Simple Summary

This study in laboratory rodents shows a sex specific effect of breeder to research facility transfer on several physiological parameters, such as heart rate and blood pressure. We recommend at least 8 days of acclimatization time after transfer in male rats and at least two weeks in female rats, before using these animals in research.


Most laboratory animals used in research are vendor-bred and transferred to research facilities. Transfer procedures might have considerable and unintended effects on research results. In the present study we compared physiological and behavioral parameters before and after external and internal transfer, as well as between transferred and non-transferred Wistar rats. The impact of both external and internal transfer on body weight, plasma corticosterone levels, heart rate, blood pressure, and locomotor activity was studied in both male and female Wistar rats, taking into account the sex differences in stress responsivity. External transfer was found to decrease body weight, increase plasma corticosterone, increase activity, increase heart rate in female rats, but decrease heart rate in male rats. Parameters showed differences between the sexes and light phases. This study shows that acclimatization after transfer is sex-specific and researchers should take the sex into consideration when determining the acclimatization period. It is recommended to allow for acclimatization of at least 8 days in males and two weeks in females after external transfer and timely (2 days before starting experiments) transfer the animals internally to the testing room. View Full-Text
Keywords: transportation; transfer; acclimatization; heart rate; blood pressure; locomotor activity; corticosterone; rat transportation; transfer; acclimatization; heart rate; blood pressure; locomotor activity; corticosterone; rat

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Arts, J.W.M.; Kramer, K.; Arndt, S.S.; Ohl, F. Sex Differences in Physiological Acclimatization after Transfer in Wistar Rats. Animals 2014, 4, 693-711.

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