Raya, J., Neves Girardi , C. E., Hipólide, D. C. 2019. Corticosterone assimilation by a voluntary oral administration in palatable food to rats. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 22(1), 37-41.
Drug delivery in research on nonhuman animals in the laboratory is still challenging because it is usually invasive and stressful. Stress-free voluntary oral drug administration in water lacks precise control of dose and timing of substance ingestion. Voluntary oral consumption of corticosterone has been previously successfully applied in mice using oat flakes, but protocols for oral corticosterone administration in rats remain unavailable. This study assessed the effectiveness of voluntary oral administration to rats of a palatable piece of bread soaked with corticosterone that can be rapidly prepared and is reliably dose- and timing-controllable. After three familiarization days, all rats ate the bread within 120 seconds of presentation, irrespective of the presence or absence of corticosterone or vehicle. Corticosterone plasma levels remained at basal levels with consumption of vehicle-containing bread, and they were significantly increased with corticosterone-containing bread. Hence, the method enabled corticosterone bodily assimilation while avoiding stress, making it a possible alternative for invasive and stressful procedures. This article includes a methodological refinement that lessens unnecessary discomfort to laboratory animals and is potentially suitable for acute and chronic protocol studies.