Tang, G., Seume, N., Häger, C. et al. 2020. Comparing distress of mouse models for liver damage. Scientific Reports 10(1), 19814.
In order to foster animal welfare as well as high quality of research, many countries regulate by law that the severity of animal experiments must be evaluated and considered when performing biomedical research. It is well accepted that multiple parameters rather than a single readout parameter should be applied to describe animal distress or suffering. However, since the performance of readout parameters for animal distress is rarely defined and methods for multivariate analysis have only in rare cases been used, it is not known which methodology is most appropriate to define animal distress. This study used receiver operating characteristic curve analysis to quantify the performance of burrowing activity, body weight change and a distress score of mice after induction of liver damage by bile duct ligation or carbon tetrachloride. In addition, Support Vector Machine classification was used to compare the distress of these mouse models. This approach demonstrated that bile duct ligation causes much more distress than carbon tetrachloride-induced liver damage. This study, therefore, provides a prototype how to compare two animal models by considering several readout parameters. In the future these or similar methods for multivariate analysis will be necessary, when assessing and comparing the severity of animal models.