Refinement of rodent and non-rodent housing during telemetry recordings

Telemetry is a method which allows the remote measurement of physiological parameters from animals in their home environment without disturbance.  Telemetered rodents (guinea-pigs, rats and mice) are often used within research models or early drug screening.  Non-rodents (dogs, mini-pigs or non-human primates) are required for cardiovascular safety studies of potential new medicines before human clinical trials, designed to better understand the potential of drugs to affect parameters including blood pressure, heart rate and ECG. This is commonly performed during either a standalone safety pharmacology study (with the animals implanted with a telemetry device) or as part of the repeat dose toxicology study (using recordings obtained from animals wearing jackets containing the recording equipment).

International welfare laws require that social species (such as the laboratory species above) should be housed in stable, compatible pairs or groups (social housing).  However, animals on telemetry studies are often individually housed during the recording periods, due to technology limitations, cage/pen size, or perceptions around data quality, potential damage to the equipment (e.g. jackets) and risk of cross-contamination.  This separation may introduce additional stress to the animals.

Together with the Safety Pharmacology Society we established a working group with 14 pharmaceutical companies and contract research organisations to better understand company approaches to these studies and the opportunities and barriers for adopting best practice in social housing. Data was collected via a survey and a workshop was held at the Safety Pharmacology Society 15th annual meeting in Prague on 1 October 2015.  Recommendations were published in 2016 (see Prior et al., 2016).

In order to track the implementation of social-housing during recordings since the workshop and publication, data was collected in a further survey in 2017, with results presented as a poster at the Safety Pharmacology Society 17th annual meeting in Berlin in September 2017 (see Prior et al., 2017).  Initial data was also obtained for rodent telemetry studies within this survey.

We held further discussions with telemetry users from both industry and academia during a break-out session within a NC3Rs cardiovascular showcase event in March 2018. Recommendations for rodent telemetry studies were published in 2019 (see Skinner et al., 2019) and another for non-rodent telemetry studies is in preparation.   

Papers and posters from the working group

Social housing during telemetry studies in rodents and non-rodents presented at the NC3Rs event 'Advancing the 3Rs in pharma: Improving delivery of innovative medicines to patients', June 2019.

Why are non-rodents not socially housed during cardiovascular telemetry recordings on safety pharmacology studies? presented at SPS, September 2017, and the NC3Rs Cardiovascular Showcase, March 2018.

Prior H, Bottomley A, Champéroux P, Cordes J, Delpy E, Dybdal N, Edmunds N, Engwall M, Foley M, Hoffmann M, Kaiser R, Meecham K, Milano S, Milne A, Nelson R, Roche B, Valentin JP, Ward G, Chapman K (2016). Social housing of non-rodents during cardiovascular recordings in safety pharmacology and toxicology studies. Journal of Pharmacological and Toxicological Methods 81: 75-87 doi:10.1016/j.vascn.2016.03.004

Global cross-company data-sharing on the housing of non-rodents during the recording of cardiovascular telemetry data on safety pharmacology and toxicology studies  - safety pharmacology studies presented at SPS September 2015

Global cross-company data-sharing on the housing of non-rodents during the recording of cardiovascular telemetry data on safety pharmacology and toxicology studies  - toxicology studies presented at EuroTox September 2015

We have also collated papers and posters related to telemetry recording in both safety pharmacology and toxicology studies. These can be downloaded below.

Dog safety pharmacology (implanted telemetry)

Pair-housed dog telemetry: Animal welfare refinement with early indications of similar study sensitivity presented at SPS October 2014

A comparison of baseline heart rates, left ventricular and systolic pressures in group versus single housed dogs and the effects of housing on sensitivity to detect changes in contractility following pimobendan administration presented at SPS September 2015

Comparative analysis of data sciences international PhysioTel™ D70 and PhysioTel™ digital telemetry platforms presented at SPS September 2015

Markert M, Trautmann T, Krause F, Cioaga M, Mouriot S, Wetzel M and Guth B (2018).  A new telemetry-based system for assessing cardiovascular function in group-housed large animals. Taking the 3Rs to a new level with the evaluation of remote measurements via cloud data transmission. Journal of Pharmacological and Toxicological Methods 93: 90-97. doi:10.1016/j.vascn.2018.03.006 

Sadekova N, Boudreau G, Jalbert B and Norton K (2016). The effects of housing conditions on baseline cardiovascular parameters and the sensitivity to detect changes in contractility in telemetry-implanted dogs. Journal of Pharmacological and Toxicological Methods 81: 60-74 doi:10.1016/j.vascn.2016.05.001

Klumpp A, Trautmann T, Markert M and Guth B (2006). Optimising the experimental environment for dog telemetry studies. Journal of Pharmacological and Toxicological Methods 54: 141-149 doi:10.1016/j.vascn.2006.03.010

Markert M, Klumpp A, Trautmann T, Mayer K, Stubhan M and Guth B (2007). The value added by measuring myocardial contractility in vivo in safety pharmacological profiling of drug candidates. Journal of Pharmacological and Toxicological Methods 56: 203-211 doi:10.1016/j.vascn.2007.03.004

NHP safety pharmacology (implanted telemetry)

Andersen N, Meyer O, Bradley A, Dragsted N, Lassen A, Sjogren I, Larsen J, Harvey W, Bator R and Milne A (2017).  Evaluation of the PhysioTel Digital M11 cardiovascular telemetry implant in socially housed cynomolgus monkeys up to 16 weeks after surgery. Journal of Pharmacological and Toxicological Methods 87: 82-92 doi:10.1016/j.vascn.2017.04.007

Pimobendan, Etilefrine, Moxifloxiacine and Esketamine as reference compounds to validate the DSI PhysioTel® system in cynomolgus monkeys presented at SPS September 2013

Evaluation of digital implantable telemetry in multiple social housing paradigms for cynomolgus monkey presented at SPS September 2015

Assessment of drug-induced cardiovascular effects by telemetry in group-housed cynomolgus monkeys presented at SPS September 2013

Minipig safety pharmacology (implanted telemetry)

The use of the new PhysioTel™ digital telemetry implant (DSI) for cardiovascular assessment in the Göttingen minipig. A preliminary study presented at SPS October 2012

Göttingen Minipigs Pre-implanted with DSI PhysioTel Digital Telemetry Implants.

Stubhan M, Markert M, Mayer K, Trautmann T, Klumpp A, Henke J and Guth B (2008). Evaluation of cardiovascular and ECG parameters in the normal, freely moving Gottingen minipig. Journal of Pharmacological and Toxicological Methods 57: 202-211  doi:10.1016/j.vascn.2008.02.001

Dog toxicology (JET)

Effect of Moxifloxacin hydrochloride on cardiovascular parameters assessed via jacketed external telemetry (JET) in the male beagle dog co-housed in European caging presented at SPS October 2014

Non-invasive telemetry for monitoring ECG in singly and group housed dogs – the effect of Moxifloxacin presented at SPS October 2008

NHP Toxicology (JET-BP)

JET-BP in socially housed nonhuman primates: comparison of Covance sites and study considerations presented at SOT March 2015

Xing G, Lu J, Hu M, Wang S, Zhao L, Zheng W, Schofield J, Oldman K, Adkins D, Yu H, Platz S and Skinner M (2015). Effects of group housing on ECG assessment in conscious cynomolgus monkeys. Journal of Pharmacological and Toxicological Methods 75: 44-51 doi:10.1016/j.vascn.2015.05.004

Kaiser R, Tichenor S, Regalia D, York K and Holzgrefe H (2015). Telemetric assessment of social and single housing: Evaluation of electrocardiographic intervals in jacketed cynomolgus monkeys. Journal of Pharmacological and Toxicological Methods 75: 38-43 doi:10.1016/j.vascn.2015.05.001

Posters from the NC3Rs Cardiovascular Showcase breakout session (March 2018)

Appell J (2018). Continuous real-time physiological data from freely moving group-housed animals.

Bjarkadóttir AV, Bjarnason A and Gunnarsson A (2018). Leadless heart rate loggers minimize impact of surgery and allow social-housing.

Haas T, Johnson D and Martin S (2018).  Advances in physiologic telemetric monitoring compatible with social housing.

Prior H, Gellatly N and Jackson S (2018). Why are non-rodents not socially housed during cardiovascular telemetry recordings on safety pharmacology studies?

Schifrin S, Lee D and Knot H (2018). A novel freely moving animal-based blood pressure, ECG, and dual body temperature telemetry system for group housed mice in social context.

Skinner M, White P and Ceuppens P (2018). Double-decker rodent telemetry – a ‘stretch’ objective.

Thomas W, Betat A et al. (2018). Improvement of animal welfare as well as robustness of cardiovascular data: how New Telemetry Technologies and study designing can support.

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