Obernier, J. A., Baldwin, R. L. 2006. Establishing an appropriate period of acclimatization following transportation of laboratory animals. ILAR Journal 47(4), 364-369.
Stress associated with transportation has widespread effects on physiological systems in laboratory animals, including changes in the cardiovascular, endocrine, immune, central nervous, and reproductive systems. Although short-lived, these changes can confound research if animals are utilized before homeostasis is restored and physiological measures return to normal. Therefore, some period of acclimatization following transportation is generally suggested to restore homeostasis. The literature documents elevated heart rate and weight loss, as well as elevated concentrations of adrenaline, noradrenaline, glucose, cortisol, free fatty acids, and ?-hydroxybutyrate. Carbohydrate, protein, and lipid metabolism (both lipolysis and lipogenesis) are altered, and plasma osmolality, albumen, protein, and pack-cell volume increase. Neutrophilia and lymphopenia are also evident. These measures generally return to baseline within 1 to 7 days of transportation, although animals that are young, severely stressed, and have stress-sensitive genotypes may show altered physiological measures for several weeks. Other measures such as circadian rhythm and reproductive performance may take several weeks to months to normalize.