A new research article was published in JoVE (the Journal of Visualized Experiments) describing a technique to reduce stress in mice.

Link to the Article

This manual technique is performed over 3 days (3D-handling technique) and focuses on the animal’s capacity to habituate to the experimenter. Briefly, the experimenter handles the mice using soft interaction to ensure that the animal is no longer afraid of being picked up, or being between the experimenter’s hands. The technique and results are available in a short video.

Supporting results also show the effect of previously established tunnel handling techniques (using a polycarbonate tunnel) and the tail-pick up technique. Specifically studied are their effects on anxiety-like behaviors, using behavioral tests (Elevated-Plus Maze and Novelty Suppressed Feeding), voluntary interaction with experimenters and physiological measurement (corticosterone levels). The 3D-handling technique and the tunnel handling technique reduced anxiety-like phenotypes. In the first experiment, using 6-month-old male mice, the 3D-handling technique significantly improved experimenter interaction. In the second experiment, using 2.5-month-old female, it reduced corticosterone levels. As such, the 3D-handling is a useful approach in scenarios where interaction with the experimenter is required or preferred, or where tunnel handling may not be possible during the experiment.