Effect of cold stress on infanticide by female Swiss albino mice Mus musculus: a pilot study

  • Zafar, Tabassum (Laboratory of Endocrinology, Department of Biosciences, Barkatullah University) ;
  • Naik, Ab Qayoom (Laboratory of Endocrinology, Department of Biosciences, Barkatullah University) ;
  • Shrivastava, Vinoy K. (Laboratory of Endocrinology, Department of Biosciences, Barkatullah University)
  • 투고 : 2017.07.25
  • 심사 : 2018.04.13
  • 발행 : 2018.04.30


Background: Mice are widely accepted research models of great clinical significance. Maintenance of laboratory mice breed is an essential aspect for performing research activities in various fields of science. Infanticide is one of the prominent causes of litter loss during maintenance of laboratory mice stock. The present study is an effort to monitor the effect of change in ambient temperature of female mice below the normal range on cannibalism and infanticide during early postparturition phase. Adult female Swiss albino mice have been divided into two groups of control and treatment. On the day of litter group one was maintained under controlled temperature conditions (minimum $20^{\circ}C$ to maximum $23^{\circ}C$) throughout, while female mice belong to group two have been exposed to variation of room temperature (maximum $15^{\circ}C$ to minimum $10^{\circ}C$ for two nights and one day) until 36 h postparturition. Results: The effects of temperature changes were observed on the infanticide behaviour of dams along with the survival of pups in early postparturition phase till 36 h after delivery. The significant statistical difference (P < 0.05) was reported in infanticide behaviour of dams when control and treatment group was compared. It is observed that decrement in surrounding temperature promotes decrement in the ambient body temperature of dams during early postparturition. It is proposed that alteration of hypothalamic homeostasis due to temperature change induces cannibalism and infanticide behaviour. Lack of thermoregulation during early postparturition creates the sense of insecurity, in-satiety, anxiety and stress. Conclusions: Authors strongly recommend the maintenance of body and surrounding temperature to prevent infanticidal behaviour and cannibalism within Swiss albino mice population. Further investigations are advisable to authenticate the active behavioural and biochemical pathway behind the phenomena.


Cannibalism;Mice stock maintenance;Infanticide;Pups mortality;Cold stress


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