3 Minute 3Rs August 2021

You’re listening to the August episode of 3 Minute 3Rs!

The papers behind the pod: 

  1. Refinement of the spinal cord injury rat model and validation of its applicability as a model for memory loss and chronic pain. Heliyon 7, E07500 (2021) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2021.e07500 
  2. Strategies to encourage the adoption of social housing during cardiovascular telemetry recordings in non-rodents. Journal of Pharmalogical & Toxicological Methods 108, 106969 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.vascn.2021.106959 
  3. Refine acquisition of high-resolution chest CTs in macaques by free breathing. Laboratory Animals https://doi.org/10.1177%2F00236772211026562 



It’s the 3rd Thursday of August, and you are listening to 3 Minute 3Rs, your monthly recap of efforts to replace, reduce, and refine the use of animals in research. This month, we’re bringing you three refinement papers. Let’s jump right in with a laminectomy. 


Rats are widely used in spinal cord injury research where the spinal cord is bruised surgically to represent the injury. Accessing the spinal cord requires parts of the vertebrae to be removed, which can result in post-operative complications, but these laminectomy procedures, descriptive protocols and potential complications are not discussed in depth in the literature.  

A recent paper in Heliyon builds upon the evidence-base that using a dental burr assisted technique reduces the impact of laminectomy. Rats lost less weight, were more active during the dark phase and scored less points on the Rat Grimace scale indicating the animals were in less pain. 

The mechanised laminectomy also reduced surgical bleeding during the procedure and did not impact the spinal cord injury or its healing process. To learn more, check out the link in the description.  


Next up, how about some social housing.  


Social housing is critical for optimal welfare of social species. However, exceptions can be made if necessary for solid science. Traditionally, researchers have made the case that dogs, pigs, and nonhuman primates should be singly housed during cardiovascular telemetry recordings, which are needed to assess the safety of a novel drug. But could that be changing? 

The NC3Rs conducted surveys and working groups to benchmark practices and address barriers to social housing in this situation. Results showed that industry use of social housing is increasing – but still not standard. Commonly cited barriers relate to data cross-contamination and sensitivity of different study designs. However, shared data indicates that these barriers can be effectively managed t0 be compatible with social housing. 

To learn more about strategies to encourage this social housing refinement read the full paper online. 

Lab Animal 

And finally, take a deep breath, and hold… 

If you or I were getting a CT scan, the doctor would likely ask to us to hold our breath for a moment while the machine did its thing. That’s because movement, like breathing, is the bane of most imaging modalities. An easy request for us, however, isn’t necessarily as simple for animals. Nonhuman primates like macaques are...

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