Effects of environmental enrichment in laboratory rodents
Together with industrial partners, a variety of enrichment items and cage modifications for esp. laboratory rodents (incl. rats, mice and fat sand rats) have been tested through the last decade and projects are still running.
These projects have been/are primarily master student project. The effect of these items on the animals has been evaluated using behavioural tests indicating level of anxiety (such as elevated plus maze EPM and light/dark box LD), locomotor activity and level of exploratory behaviour (such as open field OF), home cage behavioural observation and physiological measures such as corticosterone measures (in plasma or faeces), testosterone and metabolic parameters relating to e.g. glucose metabolism.
Moreover, also behavioural analysis of the use of the specific item provided is included in such testing, and recently we have included changes in the gut microbiota as a stress parameter.