Jirkof, P. 2015. Effects of experimental housing conditions on recovery of laboratory mice. Lab Animal 44(2), 65-70.
The beneficial effects of environment and social support during disease recovery in humans are widely accepted. Because laboratory mice are social animals and are highly motivated to interact with each other and with their environment, it is very likely that environmental and social factors are also beneficial to their recovery from experimental interventions or spontaneous diseases. The beneficial effects of enriched environments have been particularly well analyzed in the field of brain disorders, but several studies suggest that positive social contact and a complex and familiar environment may also support recovery from injury, from invasive procedures such as surgery or from spontaneously occurring diseases. The author reviews relevant publications on the effects of environment and social housing on recovery from disease or surgery in laboratory mice and other rodents. She concludes that in addition to promoting animal welfare, provision of optimal experimental housing conditions might also contribute to the clinical relevance of preclinical animal models by more closely simulating the environmental and social characteristics of disease recovery inhumans.