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Chilly cages may skew disease studies in lab mice

Thermal stress hides uptick in inflammation when rodents fed high-cholesterol diet

2:30pm, November 13, 2015
lab mouse

NOT COOL  The chilly temperatures that many lab mice live in could impact study results. 

Keeping mice in cold cages hides the effects of diet on metabolic disorders. Warming up those mice might lead to more reliable study results, researchers conclude in a study published online November 5 in Cell Metabolism.

Lab mice living in warmer habitats and fed high-fat and high-cholesterol diets showed more inflammation than they did when fed the same diets in colder homes. In mice engineered to be prone to metabolic disorders, the inflammation sped up the progression of atherosclerosis, a disease that causes hardening of arteries. But the inflammation surprisingly didn’t affect how well cells respond to insulin, a problem for people with obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Although an ideal temperature for mice might be closer to 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit), lab mice are typically kept at temperatures between 19° C and 22° C (66° F to 71° F). That

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