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Gordon CJ, Fogelson L. 
“Metabolic and thermoregulatory responses of the rat maintained in acrylic or wire-screen cages: implications for pharmacological studies”. 
Physiol Behav. 1994;56(1):73-9.
Because of differences in thermal conductivity, it is likely that a rodent's thermoregulatory requirements and their response to drugs and other stimuli will vary in metal and acrylic cages. To address these issues, thermoregulatory responses were measured in rats housed in an environmental chamber with a floor made of either solid metal (aluminum) or acrylic materials (Plexiglas). Metabolic rate (M), evaporative water loss (E), thermal conductance (C), and tail skin (Tsk) and core temperature (Tc) were measured at ambient temperatures (Ta) of 10, 20, 28, 30, 32, and 34 degrees C. These thermoregulatory variables were essentially unaffected by floor type at Tas of 20 and 28 degrees C. The acrylic floor showed greater increases in M, E, Tc, and Tsk, but a smaller elevation in C as Ta increased from 28 to 34 degrees C. At a Ta of 10 degrees C, rats on the acrylic floor had a smaller M compared to that measured on the metal floor. Rats were then injected with saline or 30 mg/kg (SC) of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and placed in an acrylic cage with wood chip bedding or a wire-screen cage at a Ta of 20 degrees C. The MDMA caused Tc to increase > 2.0 degrees C in rats in the acrylic cage but had no effect on Tc of rats in the wire-screen cage. The marked effect of cage type on basal thermoregulatory processes and thermogenic response to MDMA should be useful in the design and interpretation of many pharmacological studies.
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