The influence of food restriction versus ad libitum feeding of chow and purified diets on variation in body weight, growth and physiology of female Wistar rats.
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SourceLaboratory Animals, 46, 2, (2012), pp. 101-107
1 april 2012
Article / Letter to editor
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Central Animal Laboratory
SubjectNCEBP 2: Evaluation of complex medical interventions ONCOL 3: Translational research; CDL NWP Medewerkers - vallen niet onder een onderzoeksinstituut
Ad libitum (AL) supply of standard chow is the feeding method most often used for rodents in animal experiments. However, AL feeding is known to result in a shorter lifespan and decreased health as compared with restricted feeding. Restricted feeding and thus limiting calorie intake prevents many health problems, increases lifespan and can also increase group uniformity. All this leads to a reduced number of animals needed. So-called standard chows are known to be prone to variation in composition. Synthetic foods have a more standard composition, contributing to group uniformity which, like diet reduction, may decrease the number of animals necessary to obtain statistical significance. In this study, we compared the effects of AL versus restricted feeding (25% reduction in food intake) on standard chow versus synthetic food of three different suppliers on body weight (BW), growth, several blood parameters and organ weights in growing female Wistar rats over a period of 61 days. Diet restriction led to a decreased growth and significantly reduced variation in BW and growth as compared with AL feeding. AL feeding on synthetic diets caused a significantly higher BW gain than on chow diets. Due to experimental design, this same effect occurred on food restriction. Blood parameters and organ weights were affected neither by diet type nor by amount. Incidentally, variations were significantly reduced on food restriction versus AL, and on synthetic diets versus chow diets. This study demonstrates that food restriction versus AL feeding leads to a significantly reduced variation in BW and growth, thereby indicating the potential for reduction when applying this feeding schedule.
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