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Improved timed-mating, non-invasive method using fewer unproven female rats with pregnancy validation via early body mass increases

Stramek, Agata K.; Johnson, Michelle L. and Taylor, Victoria J. (2019). Improved timed-mating, non-invasive method using fewer unproven female rats with pregnancy validation via early body mass increases. Laboratory Animals, 53(2) pp. 148–159.

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For studies requiring accurate conception-timing, reliable, efficient methods of detecting oestrus reduce time and costs, whilst improving welfare. Standard methods use vaginal cytology to stage cycle, and breeders are paired–up using approximately five proven females with proven males to achieve at least one conception on a specific day. We describe an alternative, fast, consistent, non-invasive method of timed-mating using detection of lordosis behaviour in Wistar and Lister-Hooded rats that used unproven females with high success rates. Rats under reverse-lighting had body masses recorded pre-mating, day (d) 3-4, d8, d10 and d18 of pregnancy. Using only the presence of the oestrus dance to time-mate females for 24-hrs, 89% Wistar and 88% Lister-Hooded rats successfully conceived. We did not observe behavioural oestrus in Sprague-Dawleys without males present. Significant body mass increases following mating distinguished pregnant from non-pregnant rats, as early as d4 of pregnancy (10% ± 1.0 increase cf 3% ± 1.2). The pattern of increases throughout gestation was similar for all pregnant rats until late pregnancy, when there were smaller increases for primi- and multiparous rats (32% ± 2.5; 25% ± 2.4), whereas nulliparous rats had highest gains (38% ± 1.5). This method demonstrated a distinct refinement of the previous timed-mating common practice used, as disturbance of females was minimised. Only the number required of nulli-, primi- or multiparous rats were mated, and body mass increases validated pregnancy status. This new breeding-management method is now established practice for two strains of rat and resulted in a reduction in animal use.

Item Type: Journal Item
ISSN: 1758-1117
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Not SetNot SetThe Open University (OU)
Keywords: gestation; oestrus dance; lordosis; pregnancy-prediction; reduction
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Life, Health and Chemical Sciences
Item ID: 54322
Depositing User: Victoria Taylor
Date Deposited: 17 Apr 2018 10:03
Last Modified: 23 Jan 2020 22:45
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