Voluntary Wheel Running in Mice

Jorming Goh1, Warren Ladiges2

1 Department of Physiology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Republic of Singapore, 2 Department of Comparative Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
Publication Name:  Current Protocols in Mouse Biology
Unit Number:   
DOI:  10.1002/9780470942390.mo140295
Online Posting Date:  December, 2015
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Voluntary wheel running in the mouse is used to assess physical performance and endurance and to model exercise training as a way to enhance health. Wheel running is a voluntary activity in contrast to other experimental exercise models in mice, which rely on aversive stimuli to force active movement. This protocol consists of allowing mice to run freely on the open surface of a slanted, plastic saucer‐shaped wheel placed inside a standard mouse cage. Rotations are electronically transmitted to a USB hub so that frequency and rate of running can be captured via a software program for data storage and analysis for variable time periods. Mice are individually housed so that accurate recordings can be made for each animal. Factors such as mouse strain, gender, age, and individual motivation, which affect running activity, must be considered in the design of experiments using voluntary wheel running. © 2015 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Keywords: voluntary wheel running; mouse fitness testing; running endurance; exercise training; exercised‐induced health benefits

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Table of Contents

  • Commentary
  • Literature Cited
  • Figures
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Basic Protocol 1:

  • Animal of interest
  • Running wheel (e.g., Med Associates, product no. ENV‐044; see Critical Parameters)
  • Locking pins (supplied with running wheel)
  • Magnet (supplied with running wheel)
  • AAA batteries (three per wheel)
  • Wireless environmental sensor
  • Monitoring hub (supplied with running wheel)
  • Standard mouse cage with food hopper, bedding, and water bottle
  • Computer with appropriate software (e.g., Wheel Manager and Wheel Analysis software, Med Associates) and wireless connection
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Literature Cited

Literature Cited
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  De Bono, J.P., Adlam, D., Paterson, D.J., and Channon, K.M. 2006. Novel quantitative phenotypes of exercise training in mouse models. Am. J. Physiol. Regul. Integr. Comp. Physiol. 290:R926‐R934. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.00694.2005.
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  Phelps, M., Pettan‐Brewer, C., Ladiges, W., and Yablonka‐Reuveni Z. 2013. Decline in muscle strength and running endurance in klotho deficient C57BL/6 mice. Biogerontology. 14:729‐739. doi: 10.1007/s10522-013-9447-2.
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