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Researchers Behind the Groundbreaking Obesity Study Using Tecniplast's DVC® System

Stefano Gaburro Scientific Director at Tecniplast, had the opportunity to interview Amanda Kiliaan and Klara Lohkamp, the last and first authors, respectively, of the exciting study on obesity and brain health using Tecniplast's Digital Ventilated Cage (DVC®) technology.

Amanda, We saw the article’s publication; could you briefly describe the scientific objective of the work and the results?

The main objective of our study was to investigate the impact of obesity on brain structure and cognition in a mouse model for obesity, and examine the possible protective role of exercise and eventual synergistic effects of exercise and branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) supplementation.

Our findings revealed that exercise helped prevent the adverse effects of obesity: attenuated white matter loss and reduced neuroinflammation in the brain whereas cognition was slightly improved in exercising mice on BCAA. BCAA and exercise also decreased body weight and fasting insulin levels, and improved the circadian rhythm.

We used Tecniplast's DVC® technology (DVC® and running wheels) to assess the impact of exercise on brain function and structure and to monitor the circadian rhythm and activity in the cages as well.

Klara, Are the results obtained similar to those expected?

Yes, most of our findings are in line with our expectations. Similar to previous research, we found that voluntary exercise reduced obesity-induced loss of white matter integrity and neuroinflammation.

Furthermore, the use of DVC technology allowed us to obtain precise and reliable data on the home-cage activity of the animals.

We discovered that a combination of exercise and dietary BCAA supplementation improved the circadian rhythm of obese animals.

Amanda, Do you believe the DVC® was crucial for collecting this data and its analysis?

Absolutely. The DVC® system with running wheel was instrumental, allowing for precise monitoring of physical exercise using the DVC® Running Wheel over a period of 6 months. The system's advanced capabilities, including circadian rhythm tracking, and also accessing the activity/exercise during the active phase of the animals during the night, again during a study duration of 6 months, would not have been possible without the automated monitoring.

It contributes significantly to the quality of the data collected 24/7 also because the animals are undisturbed and therefore not stressed.

Klara, Where do you see DVC® technology in animal facilities in 10 years and why?

We think that the DVC® technology will be very valuable for animal research facilities in the coming years. It enables researchers to monitor mice in their home-cages 24/7, providing a reliable measure of home-cage activity and voluntary exercise through the use of DVC® Running wheels.

Automated monitoring makes it possible to measure activity of animals in their home-cage environment without handling them, which is not feasible with conventional behavioral tests. Integrating DVC® technology in future research is expected to yield new insights into various aspects of health, disease, and well-being.

In the future, we will use DVC® technology to investigate motor diseases such as stroke, by analyzing the walking patterns of stroke-induced mice that were monitored with DVC®.

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