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Webinar and video

Food restriction in rodent studies

Is food restriction necessary and how could it affect your data and animal welfare? A workshop recording featuring academic and industry experts.


Food restriction is a commonly used procedure in both academic and industry settings. In preclinical toxicology studies and basic research animals are often fasted prior to blood sampling to ensure a standard baseline and enable between animal comparisons. Food restriction is also widely used in the field of neuroscience to motivate performance in behavioural tasks that involve a food reward.

Food restriction paradigms must be carefully designed, and animal welfare closely monitored throughout these studies to ensure that any associated adverse effects such as weight loss are minimised. Food restriction can also lead to the induction of daily torpor, a physiological state in which various species including mice, can enter a state of supressed metabolic activity and hypothermia lasting for a few hours each day. Many researchers are unaware of the existence of daily torpor and do not take this into account as a factor that could be influencing the quality of their data.

Webinar recording

This NC3Rs webinar addresses the scientific and welfare implications of using food restriction with rodents. The webinar features presentations from academic and industry experts in the fields of preclinical diabetes, daily torpor and regulatory toxicology. This includes coverage of where the use of shorter, more refined food restriction paradigms (or the removal of food restriction altogether) have been shown to have positive welfare outcomes, while also resulting in more reliable and reproducible data. Lastly, a new automated system for monitoring food intake in socially housed mice is introduced. This system was initially developed through the Moshers CRACK IT Challenge by the team at Research Devices Ltd, and may provide further welfare benefits to rodents undergoing food restriction.

This webinar is relevant for all academic, regulatory and industry scientists interested in, or already using food restriction in rodents.

Speakers and references