Amen, E. M., Brecheisen, M., Sach-Peltason, L. et al. 2017. Refinement of a model of repeated cerebrospinal fluid collection in conscious rats. Laboratory Animals 51(1), 44-53.

The cannulation of the cisterna magna in rats for in vivo sampling of cerebrospinal fluid serves as a valuable model for studying the delivery of new drugs into the central nervous system or disease models. It offers the advantages of repeated sampling without anesthesia-induced bias and using animals as their own controls. An established model was retrospectively reviewed for the outcomes and it was hypothesized that by refining the method, i.e. by (1) implementing pathophysiological-based anesthesia and analgesia, (2) using state-of-the-art peri-operative monitoring and supportive care, (3) increasing stability of the cement–cannula assembly, and (4) selecting a more adaptable animal strain, the outcome in using the model – quantified by peri-operative mortality, survival time and stability of the implant – could be improved and could enhance animal welfare. After refinement of the technique, peri-operative mortality decreased significantly (7 animals out of 73 compared with 4 out of 322; P ¼ 0.001), survival time increased significantly (36 14 days compared with 28 18 days; P < 0.001), as well as the stability of the cement–cannula assembly (47 8 days of adhesion compared with 33 15 days and 34 13 days using two other cement types; P < 0.001). Overall, the 3R concept of Russell and Burch was successfully addressed and animal welfare was improved by (1) the reduction in the total number of animals needed as a result of lower mortality or fewer euthanizations due to technical failure, and frequent use of individual rats over a time frame; and (2) improving the scientific quality of the model.

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