Effect of cage population density on plasma corticosterone and peripheral lymphocyte populations of laboratory mice

X. Peng, C. M. Lang, C. K. Drozdowicz, B. M. Ohlsson-Wilhelm

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The effect of different population densities of mice per cage on plasma corticosterone, peripheral lymphocytes and specific lymphocyte subpopulations was investigated. The animals were housed in groups of 2, 4 or 8 mice per cage and the blood samples were taken from each animal of these groups on days one, 7 and 14. A significant elevation (P<0.05) in plasma corticosterone concentration was observed in the group of 8 mice per cage on days one and 7 as compared with those of 2 or 4 mice per cage. The number of peripheral lymphocytes was significantly decreased in the groups of 2 (P<0.01) and 8 (P<0.05) mice per cage as compared with the group of 4 mice per cage on day one. A significantly decreased number of lymphocytes (P<0.01) in the group of 8 mice per cage continued to day 7. There were no significant differences in specific lymphocyte subpopulations observed among these groups. The results of this study suggest that a population density of 4 mice per cage induced minimal stress compared to that induced by the population densities of 2 or 8 mice per cage. Since stress is known to induce alteration in a variety of biological functions, the population density of mice per cage should be considered in the interpretaion of research data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)302-306
Number of pages5
JournalLaboratory Animals
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 1989


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary(all)

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