On February 7, 2006, the American Physiological Society (APS)
published a Resource Book for the Design of Animal Exercise Protocols.
This book was developed during series of meetings in 2003 and 2004 involving
experts in the fields of exercise physiology and animal research models. It is
intended for researchers, Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUCs),
and those involved with research oversight. The authoring committee, which was
comprised of exercise physiologists and laboratory animal veterinarians,
reviewed reference material and drew upon their own experience to compile
suggestions about how to design, review, and implement experimental paradigms
involving animals and exercise. The APS Resource Book was peer reviewed
by other exercise physiologists and laboratory animal veterinarians. The PDF of
the book is available through the link below.
The opening chapter of the Resource Book outlines
the scope of the document and addresses the relevance of studying exercise in
general as well as the specific question, why study exercise in animals? It
explains how the suggestions about the use of animals in exercise paradigms
contained in the APS Resource Book fit into the context of U.S. animal
welfare requirements, including the Animal Welfare Act, the Public Health
Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Animals, and the ILAR Guide for the
Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Specifically, the APS Resource Book
is intended to promote an informed dialogue that can help researchers and
their IACUCs arrive at satisfactory answers to questions about how to assure the
welfare of animals in exercise research protocols. To this end, the APS
Resource Book includes 399 reference citations.
Topics addressed in the APS Resource Book include
general concerns such as selecting appropriate animal models for exercise
research, study design considerations, animal stress, working with compromised
animals, and the impact of surgery on exercise. A separate chapter covers common
exercise protocols using rats and mice because these are currently the species
used most frequently in exercise studies. Another chapter considers exercise
protocols using large animals such as horses, pigs, and dogs. A third chapter
discusses exercise protocols involving species such as rabbits, hamsters, guinea
pigs, cats, goats, sheep, nonhuman primates, birds, and fish. In addition to an
extensive list of citations, the book also includes appendices on hind limb
suspension and immobilization of rats and mice and a set of sample animal
exercise protocol scenarios for IACUCs and principal investigators.
NIH’s Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) sponsored
the development of the APS Resource Book. Single copies are available free of
charge from OLAW while supplies last. Contact
OLAW@od.nih.gov to request a free copy. Copies may also be purchased from
the APS for $9.50 each.